The sports reporter who lost his Duke basketball credentials after tweeting a racial comment should not have had press access in the first place, the online publication says.
John Stansberry, who falsely identified himself online as a sports reporter for College Insider, allegedly took a photo of Greta Chen, a Duke first-year student, and her friends at the Dec. 2 men’s basketball game against South Dakota in Cameron Indoor Stadium. The photo was tweeted along with a racial comment.
But College Insider President Joe Dwyer said in an email to The News & Observer on Wednesday that Stansberry is not employed by or affiliated with College Insider “in any way.”
“He departed his contractor role three years ago and fraudulently gained press credentials for these games,” Dwyer wrote. “This situation is very unfortunate and College Insider has a zero tolerance for this type of behavior.”
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Jeffery D. Ugino, an attorney representing College Insider, said in an email Wednesday that Stansberry was last paid by the publication in March 2014.
“College Insider has had no contact with Mr. Stansberry in years,” Ugino wrote. “His tweets are deplorable and reprehensible. He should never be credentialed by any school again. College Insider stands with the Duke community in condemning Mr. Stansberry’s actions. There is no place for this type of behavior at Duke, college basketball or any place else.”
Chen and her friends were standing behind Stansberry at the game and noticed that he was tweeting about them when they looked over his shoulder. She posted two screenshots of Stansberry’s tweets, who used the Twitter handle @LonelyTailgater.
One tweet read, “The Asian chick Cameron Crazies behind me are openly swooning over Grayson Allen the way their moms swooned over Cheap Trick.”
The other tweet was a photo of Chen and her friends accompanied by the text, “I haven’t been this scrunched up with Asian chicks since I came out of my Korean mother’s womb.”
Stansberry apparently since deleted his Twitter account.
Stansberry had media passes to the game on Dec. 2 and two other non-Atlantic Coast Conference games in Cameron this season, said Michael Schoenfeld, Duke’s vice president for public affairs and government relations.
Asked how Stansberry secured his media pass despite the lapse of his ties to College Insider, Duke officials said he’d applied for them from a collegeinsider.com email address and his name still appeared on the web site.
“We do not have the resources to conduct full background checks on everyone who applies for credentials if they have a valid email address and are listed on a company web site,” said Jon Jackson, Duke’s senior associate athletics director for external affairs.
The credentials were “revoked, and his employer was informed,” Schoenfeld said, adding that the Duke athletics department acted as soon as it could confirm Stansberry’s identity.
“If he requests credentials again, we will not honor it,” Jackson said. “Based on his actions, he will not have the [future] opportunity to be in Cameron.”
Confirmation of Stansberry’s actions came from the photos Chen posted to Facebook, Schoenfeld said.
“If you’re going to tweet offensive things, don’t do it from the one place in Cameron where your identity can be confirmed, and then delete your account as soon as you’re discovered,” Schoenfeld said.
Ugino called Stansberry “merely an independent, rogue individual tweeting under @LonelyTailgaiter, now since deleted.
“Mr. Stansberry apparently used his former status with College Insider to dupe Duke into gaining a courtside seat.”
Ray Gronberg contributed reporting.