Colorado State apologizes after fans chant ‘Russia’ at Utah State player from Ukraine

Utah State’s Max Shulga was born and raised in Kyiv, where his family has remained during Russia’s war on their country.

(Utah State Athletics) USU guard Max Shulga wraps himself in a Ukrainian flag last spring as the Russian attacks on his country escalated. Colorado State has apologized after a "small group of fans" chanted "Russia" as Shulga attempted free throws in a game there Saturday night.

Colorado State University has apologized for a chant directed at Utah State player Max Shulga during a game Saturday night in Fort Collins.

As Shulga, who is from Kyiv, Ukraine, took free throws late in the game, a “small group” of fans chanted “Russia,” a reference to the ongoing war in Eastern Europe.

The chant could be heard over the television broadcast.

“On behalf of Colorado State, we apologize to the student-athlete and Utah State. This is a violation of our steadfast belief in the Mountain West Sportsmanship Policy and University Principles of Community,” the university said in a post on Twitter. “Every participant, student, and fan should feel welcomed in our venues, and for something like this to have occurred is unacceptable at Colorado State.”

A year ago, as Russia’s war on Ukraine began, Shulga’s family was hunkered down in Kyiv, where they still reside.

“There are a lot of emotions, mixed emotions. When I’m calling my parents, I’m happy to see them,” Shulga said last year. “But at the same time, I know there are other people, relatives and random people, dying there, fighting for our country.

Shulga lived in Kyiv until he was 13 before moving to pursue a basketball career. He has played for Ukraine’s U18 and U20 teams.

“I’m happy to see my family healthy and safe, but at the same time I’m mad all that is going on and I can’t do nothing. I’m all the way here,” he said last year.

The Aggies beat Colorado State 88-79 Saturday night. Shulga had nine points, three rebounds and a team-high six assists in the victory.