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The 'Other' Parker Rice: How The OU Scandal Trapped A Student With The Same Name

Courtesy of Parker Rice
This Parker Rice is a student at Oklahoma State University who's dealing with a social media deluge from people confusing him with the other Parker Rice, who's involved in the University of Oklahoma fraternity scandal.

This story is not about that Parker Rice -- the University of Oklahoma student from Dallas who was expelled this week after leading racist chants in a notorious fraternity video. 

This story is about the other Parker Rice -- the one who attends OU’sarchrival, Oklahoma State, and grew up just a few miles from the OU campus. The one who's also getting vilified on social media.

On Monday morning, his roommate woke him up and told him to check his phone. There were 500 comments on his Instagram account, 50 private messages on Facebook and a ridiculous number of calls from friends, family, The Washington Post, Inside Edition and local media in Oklahoma.

As he puts it: “It’s a great day to be named Parker Rice."

This Parker Rice is also in a fraternity, Alpha Phi Omega, at Oklahoma State. Plus he’s from Norman, where the other Parker Rice made headlines. This one doesn’t like a lot of attention. He plays tennis, builds robots, and is still studying for his listening and writing exam in elementary Japanese.

“My first thought was that someone hacked my account," he says. "Initially, it was kind of scary, to not know what I did to bring all of this hate to myself. It's definitely been stressful. But I guess I take a lighter view of the comments, and be happy it's not directed at me."

But that’s not easy when strangers call him a liar, accusing him of pretending to be a different Parker Rice. You’re pathetic, said one Instagram user. Another told Rice he was so ugly it hurt. One user wished Rice would get run over.

There were worse messages. And some funny ones with horrible misspellings. He’s received a few apologies, but some people still think he’s the guy in the video.

"I do think it's wrong," he says. "And it shouldn't be happening. And from the looks of it, we have a lot of work to do, if as a community we want to change that."

Doualy Xaykaothao is a newscaster and reporter for NPR, based in Culver City. She returned to NPR for this role in 2018, and is responsible for writing, producing, and delivering national newscasts. She also reports on breaking news stories for NPR.