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Wisconsin wrestler responds to racist slur from Iowa fan


University of Wisconsin 149-pound wrestler Austin Gomez responded on Twitter yesterday to being called a racial slur following his 3-2 win over Iowa’s Vince Turk over the weekend.

Following the match, Gomez, in hist first year with Wisconsin after transferring from Iowa State, tweeted, “I’m living rent free in the heads of Iowa fans.” Also Saturday, his mother tweeted that he’d been called a racist slur after the match.

On Monday, the University of Iowa athletic department issued a statement condemning the slur.

“The University of Iowa denounces any act of hatred and is committed to providing a safe and equitable environment. Iowa’s Athletic Administration has reached out to Wisconsin, and the student-athlete, to apologize for the incident and to let them know we are following up on this matter. Any individual found in violation of our fan behavior policy is subject to being banned from attending future Hawkeye athletic events,” the statement reads in part.

Later Monday, Gomez issued a statement of his own on Twitter, in which he said his family, including his 16-year-old sister, were also subjected to verbal abuse.

In the statement Gomez admits to responding to the fans boos and jeers with a “keep talking” kind of hand gesture, and said the reaction from Iowa fans was “comical,” so he simply kept walking to the tunnel. He wrote that he didn’t even react to the racial slur, because “it’s funny to me that someone has to stoop that low to try to get at me.”

However, he said he was more upset when he heard people disparaging his father, and when he learned later that his mother and sister were “getting cussed at the whole time as well.”

In a statement Tuesday, UW Athletic Director Chris McIntosh called the Iowa fan’s behavior “totally unacceptable” and wrote, “I appreciate the Gomez family having the courage to bring this to light.”

Gomez said Monday that a call had been arranged with Iowa personnel for Tuesday, but no details of that call have been made public.