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The Colorado State men’s basketball program issued an apology to Utah State and Aggies guard Max Shulga after some fans were heard chanting “Russia” at Shulga, a native Ukrainian, late in the game.
Shulga, who is from Kyiv, Ukraine, and still has family residing in the area, was at the free throw line late in Mountain West tilt when “Russia” chants began to rain down from the Colorado State student section. Nevertheless, Shulga sank three of four free throws in the final minute of the game to help give the Aggies an 88–79 win.
After the game, Colorado State said it became aware that “small group of individuals” had started the unsavory chant and apologized for the group’s actions.
“On behalf of Colorado State, we apologize to the student-athlete and Utah State,” the school said in a series of tweets. “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.”
Shulga, a junior guard, has averaged 11.3 points, 4.4 rebounds and 4.1 assists in 24 games this season. He recorded nine points and six assists in Saturday night’s win over the Rams.
Almost a year ago, Russia invaded Ukraine, sparking an international conflict. The invasion has left a lasting imprint on the sports world, which has included a ban of Russian athletes at various events over the past 12 months as well as a lingering debate about whether or not to allow Russia to compete at the 2024 Olympics in Paris.