Duke revokes reporter's credentials after racist tweets at a basketball game

Students in the student section of a Duke basketball game were the target of racist tweets from a reporter. (AP Photo)

A reporter for the website College Insider has had his Duke University credentials revoked after sending several tweets that contained racial stereotypes, and tweeting a photo of a student without her knowledge or permission.

According to the Herald-Sun, the reporter, Jason Stansberry, was covering a Duke Blue Devils basketball game on December 2, and a first-year student named Greta Chen was in the first row with her friends, just behind Stansberry. Midway through the game, one of Chen’s friends noticed that Stansberry was tweeting something about them.

Chen searched on Twitter and discovered that Stansberry had made two racially targeted comments about them, and one included a picture of her and her friends at the game that had been taken and posted without their knowledge. Chen took pictures of the tweets in case they were deleted (good instinct), and put them in a Facebook post.

Greta Chen’s Facebook post.

Stansberry, who used the Twitter handle @LonelyTailgater, has since deleted his Twitter account. But the internet never forgets.

One of the racial tweets sent by Jason Stansberry, who went by @LonelyTailgater on Twitter.
One of the racial tweets sent by Jason Stansberry, who went by @LonelyTailgater on Twitter.

Michael Schoenfeld, vice president for public affairs and government relations at Duke, told the Herald-Sun that Stansberry’s credentials have been revoked, and that his employer has been informed about the incident. Any further requests for credentials from Stansberry will be rejected. Schoenfeld also made this incredibly astute comment:

“If you’re going to tweet offensive things, don’t do it from the one place in Cameron where your identity can be confirmed, and then delete your account as soon as you’re discovered,” Schoenfeld said.

He’s not wrong, that’s for sure.

The Chronicle, Duke’s student-run paper, reported that the incident came to light thanks to Chen’s Facebook post. Christine Lee, president of the Asian Students Association at Duke, reached out to Chen after seeing the post, and alerted several people from the administration.

After making sure that Chen was emotionally supported, Lee reached out to Jon Jackson, senior associate director of athletics, and senior Riyanka Ganguly, president of Duke Student Government.

Ganguly and Lee met with Jackson the next day, and he informed them that this type of behavior was not welcome in Cameron Indoor Stadium and that the reporter would never be credentialed in Cameron again. Jackson also spoke to the reporter’s supervisor.

The Herald-Sun reported that Stansberry has contributed to College Insider for 20 years. The publication has not commented to the Herald-Sun about the incident.

Chen made several important points in her Facebook post, but the most salient was this: she and her friends couldn’t even go to a basketball game and cheer their favorite team without someone writing something stupid and racist about it. They’re just college students doing what college students do, and there was no reason to make any comments about them at all.

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Liz Roscher is a writer for Big League Stew on Yahoo Sports. Have a tip? Email her at lizroscher@yahoo.com or follow her on twitter! Follow @lizroscher