Two University of Houston volleyball players accused of racism reportedly back on the team

The players were suspended from the squad while an internal investigation was conducted.

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Two volleyball players from the University of Houston who were seen in a video on social media smiling and making fun of the 1935 lynching of two Black teenagers have been reinstated.

Graduate student Abbie Jackson and senior Isabel Theut are in “good standing” with the program, according to a source quoted in the Houston Chronicle. Freshman volleyball player Ryleigh Whitekettle has since left the squad.

As previously reported, Whitekettle appeared to have recorded the video of Jackson and Theut and uploaded it to Snapchat in March. The caption read, “This is the hanging tree [in Theut’s hometown of Columbus, Texas] where we used to hang people.”

University of Houston,
Two University of Houston volleyball players who were accused of racism are reportedly back on the squad. (Photo: Screenshot/

According to the Equal Justice Initiative, a mob of at least 700 white men, women and children lynched Ernest Collins, 15, and Benny Mitchell, 16, in Columbus, Texas, on November 12, 1935. The Black teenagers were accused of murdering a white woman whose body was discovered close to a creek where they had been seen collecting pecans. 

Collins and Mitchell were detained and allegedly confessed to the crime. However, “without fair investigation or trial, their supposed confessions serve as more reliable evidence of fear than guilt,” according to the Equal Justice Initiative.

They were lynched by the mob as they were being transported to the courthouse by the sheriff.

The Chronicle reported that the volleyball players accused of racism were suspended from the squad while an internal investigation was conducted. It’s unclear what disciplinary actions the students faced or what qualifications had to be met before they were reinstated.

In an email to theGrio, a member of the UH media relations team said, “I am not privy to any information, nor would the University be able to provide any information due to federal privacy law. The results of any investigation into student conduct are confidential and shared only with the parties involved.”

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