TEMPE, Ariz. – Whataburger is apologizing to three Arizona State University Football players who were the victims of “horrible racial slurs from a drive-thru customer,” the company said in a statement Friday.
One of the ASU students, Jordan Clark, described what happened Tuesday night in a tweet. The Sun Devils cornerback said he walked with teammates Nolan Matthews and T Lee to the Whataburger near campus, only to find that the dining room was closed due to the coronavirus pandemic.
“My teammate approached a car with a white woman in it, and asked her if she would mind ordering our food for us,” Clarks wrote. “We told her we’d pay, but she said she was in a hurry.”
Clark said she declined, saying she was in a hurry, but the guy behind her agreed, so they gave him the money and sat on a nearby wall to wait.
This is how Clark described what happened next:
“She then filed a complaint with the manager saying that we harassed her, and he comped her meal. She then turned to us, and said in a vindicated voice, ‘Thanks for the free food, n——.”
Clark said the manager was “unfazed” and didn’t apologize, instead he threatened to call the police.
After reviewing surveillance footage of the incident, Whataburger said they are “appalled by the incident” and described what they saw in a statement:
In the video, it’s clear that our employee did not hear the woman’s comments to the students prior to him issuing her a refund for her complaint. She had rolled up her driver’s side window, while our Team Leader was in between orders. The woman then rolled down her passenger window and appeared to comment to the students sitting on a wall across from the drive-thru. However, after the woman drove off and the students expressed their concerns, our Team Leader missed an opportunity to handle the situation with more sensitivity and empathy. The employee has been coached and now understands the importance of listening and responding in a way that our customers feel supported and safe.
Whataburger says company officials have “spoken with – and apologized to – each of the students, some of their families, the ASU athletic partnership staff, and others impacted.
See the full statement below: