Chris Weiland, a track and field student athlete at UCLA, was permanently suspended from the team after a video and text messages appeared to show him using racist and homophobic epithets. The video purportedly shows Weiland in a darkened car talking on the phone about his girlfriend with his mother, using highly inflammatory language. Weiland had been reinstated to the team in January after a suspension last year, but was permanently banned following an outcry from fellow students and others.
“Chris Weiland has been dismissed as a member of the cross country and track and field teams,” Avery Anderson, director of track & field/cross country at UCLA, said in an official statement released on Twitter.
Both the video and a series of text messages posted to social media appeared to show Weiland talking about his girlfriend who he believed was cheating on him with a Black male student from UCLA. Identified as Weiland by friends and fellow athletes, he can be heard in the video using racist and homophobic epithets in a phone call with a woman identified as his mother.
“When she says she doesn’t, you know, want to get back together, why do you think?” the man identified as Weiland says in the video. “It’s because she wants to be with this fucking faggot who has no future. She’s going to be with a stupid n***** who’s going to be in community college all his life.”
Weiland, currently a senior, formerly attended two years at Mt. San Antonio College, a community college in Walnut, California. He went on to use racially offensive epithets in both the call and in texts that others alleged he sent.
His reinstatement to the team set off a firestorm of protest from both students and even NBA basketball star Klay Thompson.
Anderson responded to the outcry by noting he had been “disgusted and immediately suspended” Weiland from the team when he first saw the video, but felt that “as a coach” part of his job was to “lead and educate and make the change happen” and so he reinstated the student-athlete.
“I can talk about changing the world, or I can put in the work to do so,” Anderson explained in the statement. After speaking with “team members and the athletic community,” he realized that Weiland’s “continued involvement with the team” was “incompatible with the culture of mutual support and respect we’re fostering.” Admitting that reinstatement “was not the right decision,” Anderson permanently kicked him off the team, calling the move “best for the well-being of our team.”