Malik Dime, a 6-foot-9 senior forward, has been suspended indefinitely after he slapped two fans in Colorado’s student section during Washington’s 81-66 loss on Thursday night.
Dime, who hasn’t played since Jan. 7 due to a broken pinky on his right hand, walked from UW’s bench to the student section after the halftime buzzer and reportedly slapped two fans after faking a handshake, according to BSN Denver. One of the fans, who gave his name only as Brian, confirmed the incident to the News Tribune during the second half but said only that “everything has been made right.”
Dime apologized to the fans after the game, and neither planned to press charges.
A Pac-12 spokesperson told the News Tribune the conference is reviewing the incident, too.
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“I was caught up in the emotion of the game and allowed my frustrations to influence my behavior,” Dime said in a statement released by the school. “I made a very poor decision, and did not represent my team, my University and my family the way I want to. I am glad I had the chance to apologize in person to the students involved in the altercation, and I am prepared to accept the full consequences of my actions. I look forward to putting this incident behind me and moving forward.”
Dime, a native of Dakar, Senegal, is in his second season at UW after transferring from Indian Hills Community College in Ottumwa, Iowa. He moved from Dakar to Ohio and began playing basketball at age 18, and recently became a United States citizen. As a junior, he set UW’s single-season record for blocked shots with 88.
He played in 15 games this season, averaging 5.5 points and 4.9 rebounds, before breaking his pinkie late in UW’s 87-61 victory over Oregon State on Jan. 7. UW coach Lorenzo Romar had already ruled out the possibility of Dime returning to action this week due to his injury, though he was seemingly progressing toward being able to return in the next week or two.
“Malik’s actions were inconsistent with his typical behavior,” Romar said in a statement released by the school. “They were absolutely unacceptable, and did not represent the values of our team and the sportsmanship spirit of our conference. We have spoken with him at length and expect this to be a valuable teaching moment. We do not expect this type of behavior to happen again.”