School says that wasn’t the reason, opens an investigation;
protest, march to campus from City Hall planned on Thursday
By CHRIS HOBBS
A sophomore who played as a freshman and then opted out last season at Lenoir-Rhyne University has made several social media posts that allege her removal from the school’s women’s basketball team was because she spoke out against racism on campus and in the LRU athletic department.
Laney Fox (https://www.facebook.com/laney.fox.52) — who said on Tuesday she is doing remote learning and remains an LRU student – includes comments and also copies of her responses to LRU President Fred Whitt about her concerns.
When contacted by HobbsDailyReport.com, Fox confirmed her Facebook website and that the posts there are ones she made.
On Tuesday, Fox added an item on Facebook calling for the LRU administration to attend a Peaceful Protest at Hickory City Hall on Thursday (see more info about it at Fox’s Facebook page).
The event begins at 11:30 a.m., and Fox — en route to Hickory on Wednesday — will attend. She said a peaceful protest march to the LRU campus from City Hall is planned.
In an interview with WCNC TV-Charlotte that aired Wednesday (https://www.wcnc.com/article/news/local/lenoir-rhyne-womens-basketball-player-cut-alleges-racism/275-3f8121a3-1c86-42eb-aa90-cbbaa2374f02), Fox called for the resignation of Whitt and the women’s basketball coaching staff.
In its report, WCNC said it has twice requested a filmed interview with Whitt and women’s head coach Grahm Smith but the school declined.
Fox lives in Parkland, Fla., is a Detroit native, and played high school basketball at Cardinal Gibbons High (Fla.).
Her statistics for the 2019-2020 season, her freshman year at LRU, were 28 games with five starts and averages of 12 ½ minutes played. She averaged 4.9 points and 2.2 rebounds per game.
Fox is not currently listed on a 20-player roster for Smith, the Bears’ head women’s basketball since April 2020.
In her posts, she said she opted out of last season because of COVID, has continued remote classes from Florida and was last at LRU in November.
Jeremy Zalacca, associate for athletic communications at LRU, provided a link on Sunday (https://www.lr.edu/important-message-to-the-lr-community-20210417) after HobbsDailyReport.com made an e-mail inquiry asking if the school had any comment on the posts by Fox.
In her posts, Fox said:
— She remains a scholarship athlete at LRU for 2021-2022.
— She is one of nine players no longer associated with the women’s basketball team, all forced out after speaking out about social justice and “implicit bias, bigotry and racism in the organization.”
— She has posted a 19-minute transcript of a meeting she said she had with Smith, associate women’s head basketball coach Audrey Timmerman and Aaron Brocks, LRU’s senior associate AD for internal operations.
Fox said she first talked with the women’s basketball staff on March 17 as a normal end-of-season process. In a second discussion on March 25, she was told she would no longer be part of the basketball program.
HobbsDailyReport.com will continue to follow this story.