Berkeley, California – November 23, 2023
The California men’s basketball program is grappling with an incident involving senior forward FardawsAimaq, who was allegedly subjected to a derogatory slur by a fan following the Golden Bears’ 75-72 loss to UTEP at the SoCal Challenge holiday tournament on Monday.
In response to the incident, Cal coach Mark Madsen expressed his concern, stating, “I was disturbed that Fardaws was allegedly on the receiving end of such language.” Madsen, however, emphasized that he did not condone Aimaq’s decision to confront the fan and confirmed that disciplinary actions would be taken.
A video capturing the aftermath of the game showed Aimaq approaching a fan in the stands, raising further concerns about player-fan interactions. The California men’s basketball program has formally requested tournament officials to investigate the matter and take measures to bar the fan responsible for the alleged offensive comments.
“FardawsAimaq was allegedly subjected to abhorrent and offensive comments from a fan − including being called a terrorist,” said Madsen. “I have asked the SoCal Challenge tournament director that a formal investigation be conducted and that this fan be barred from the premises.”
Aimaq, a 24-year-old player with an impressive track record, is currently “averaging 16 points, 8.8 rebounds, and 1.2 blocks per game for California.” Born to Afghan refugee parents, he has previously played at Texas Tech, and Mercer, and was part of Madsen’s team at Utah Valley before Madsen took the coaching position at Cal.
Tournament organizers have acknowledged the issue and released a statement, saying, “Event organizers were made aware of the issue by Cal representatives on Wednesday morning. Security has been briefed to strictly enforce the policy, and an internal investigation is ongoing related to Monday’s events.”
Despite the adversity, Aimaq showcased resilience on the court, delivering an impressive performance with 23 points and 14 rebounds in Wednesday’s third-place game against Tulane. Cal is scheduled to face San Diego State at home on Saturday, looking to move forward from the incident and focus on their upcoming game.