Colorado St. sorry for ‘Russia’ chant at Ukrainian

Colorado State issued a public apology to Utah State and Ukrainian guard Max Shulga after some of its fans chanted “Russia” at Shulga during Saturday’s game.

Shulga — who is from Kyiv, Ukraine, where his family still resides — went to the free throw line late in the game, and the “Russia” chants could be heard from the Colorado State student section.

Colorado State said in a series of tweets that the chant came from a “small group of individuals.”

“On behalf of Colorado State, we apologize to the student-athlete and Utah State,” the school said. “This is a violation of our steadfast belief in the Mountain West Sportsmanship Policy and University Principles of Community.

“Every participant, student, and fan should feel welcomed in our venues, and for something like this to have occurred is unacceptable at Colorado State.”

On Sunday afternoon, Shulga issued a statement through Utah State that thanked the Colorado State administration and Rams coach Niko Medved for their “immediate support and understanding following the disappointing events during last night’s game.”

Shulga added: “This has been an extremely difficult and challenging year with my family and loved ones so far away and living in constant danger. I pray daily for the conflict to come to a close and for peace to be restored for my people in Ukraine.”

To close his statement, Shulga said that while the chants were “extremely upsetting in the moment, I also know how emotions can run high during competition and people can do and say things they do not really mean. Colorado State and its fans have apologized and I accept and appreciate the apology.”

Shulga was 3-for-4 from the free throw line in the final minute to help the Aggies to an 88-79 win.

Later this month will mark one year since the start of Russia’s invasion of Ukraine. The invasion has led to the ban of Russian players from numerous sporting events, including Wimbledon last year, and an ongoing debate over whether to allow Russian athletes at next year’s Paris Olympics.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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