June 22, 2024

Cal has asked officials at a West Coast holiday tournament to ban a fan who allegedly called Fardaws Aimaq a “terrorist” before the sixth-year forward confronted him in the stands.

A video circulating on social media shows Aimaq, who is the son of Afghan refugees and is from Vancouver, British Columbia, approaching a fan in the crowd after Cal’s 75-72 loss to UTEP on Monday in the SoCal Challenge held in San Juan Capistrano. Aimaq can be seen leaning toward the man and pointing his finger at him while he talks to him.

Cal coach Mark Madsen said in a statement Wednesday that Aimaq confronted the fan after allegedly being subjected to derogatory language during the game and after it.

“Throughout and after Monday’s game, Fardaws Aimaq was allegedly subjected to abhorrent and offensive comments from a fan — including being called a terrorist,” Madsen said. “I have asked the SoCal Challenge tournament director that a formal investigation be conducted and that this fan be barred from the premises.”

Aimaq’s agent, Daniel Poneman, said the fan stayed after the game and continued to heckle Aimaq before he met with his family.

Aimaq, a 6-foot-11 transfer from Texas Tech, is averaging 16 points, 8.8 rebounds and 1.2 blocks per game for Cal, his fourth school. He grew up in Canada, where his parents settled after fleeing the Soviet-Afghan War.

Madsen, who is in his first season at Cal, said the language allegedly used by the fan is wrong but also said Aimaq will be disciplined for confronting the man in the stands.

“Fardaws and I had an important conversation today about how he needs to maintain his composure regardless of what takes place in a game or what is said to him directly,” Madsen said in the statement. “I am disturbed that Fardaws was allegedly on the receiving end of such language, and I’m disappointed that he confronted this fan in the stands. Fardaws understands my expectations for how he as a student-athlete conducts himself. The consequences related to this situation will be managed internally.”

Added Madsen after Wednesday’s 84-81 loss to Tulane: “Typically good things do not happen when a player goes into the stands to confront a situation. So I spoke to him about that, but the main message was I’m sorry you had to experience that. I’m sorry that happened.”

Aimaq has 23 points and 14 rebounds in Wednesday’s loss in the third-place game of the tournament. The Golden Bears (2-4) next play at home against San Diego State on Saturday.

“The things that were said to him shouldn’t be said to anyone,” teammate Jalen Cone told reporters after Wednesday’s game, according to Sports Illustrated. “Just being support for him during that time and keeping him focused.

“… That just shows who he is, how he can bounce back from adversity. He’s been doing it his whole life.”

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