The University of California, Los Angeles (UCLA) track and field and cross country team has announced that runner Chris Weiland was dismissed from the team following the release of audio and text messages showing him using racist, homophobic and sexist language after his girlfriend left him, according to ESPN.
Avery Anderson, the director of track and field and cross country at UCLA, explained in a statement posted to Twitter that he learned about what Weiland wrote and said months ago but tried to give him a second chance, eventually reinstating him in January after a short suspension.
Anderson, the school’s only Black head coach, sought to “educate” him and “make the change happen that I want to see in this world,” before adding he was disgusted by Weiland’s words and immediately suspended him indefinitely from the team.
“However, after team members and the athletic community expressed concern, it became clearer that his continued involvement with the team is incompatible with the culture of mutual support and respect we’re fostering. I now realize that the decision to reinstate him was not the right decision, and that the action today is best for the well-being of our team,” Anderson said.
Statement from Director of Track & Field and Cross Country Avery Anderson. pic.twitter.com/mt9wNW9NIl
— UCLA Cross Country (@UCLAXC) February 23, 2021
The statement followed days of anger online as text messages and recordings of phone calls show Weiland repeatedly using the N-word, denigrating Black people and leveling multiple sexist insults at his ex-girlfriend.
An Instagram account called “UCLA_is_racist” shared the videos and text messages but the site closed the account down. Some of what was shared has been preserved on Twitter.
The phone calls purportedly show Weiland speaking to his mother about his ex-girlfriend, who he believes cheated on him with a Black person.
UCLA Cross Country Runner Chris Weiland Caught in 4K Calling a Black Man a N*gger Who Took His Girlfriend; Texts of Him Using N-Word Repeatedly and Crying to His Mom About “F*cking N*ggers” Taking His Lady; How UCLA Tried to Let it Slide (IG-Texts-Vids) https://t.co/AQW6Mwr0Kn
— Robert Littal BSO (@BSO) February 23, 2021
“When she says she doesn’t, you know, want to get back together, why do you think? It’s because she wants to be with this f*****g f****t who has no future. She’s going to be with a stupid n****r who’s going to be in community college all his life,” Weiland allegedly said.
Even Weiland’s mother responded in horror when she heard him use the N-word and repeatedly call his ex-girlfriend a “s**t.”
@UCLATrack_Field As a Black student-athlete alumni that has stood diligently against racism and bigotry in all forms, I am APPALLED that this behavior is not only being excused, but covered up by your departments. To allow Chris Weiland to continue to (1/) pic.twitter.com/aC596U71bv
— Kai (@hiyakaiya) February 22, 2021
The Los Angeles Times reported that the videos and text messages are from before 2019 and before he joined UCLA’s team.
Officials who spoke to the team said they confirmed the man speaking was Weiland.