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National Hockey League commissioner Bettman condemns 'reprehensible' Smith-Pelly abuse

19 February, 2018, 07:33 | Author: Lula Armstrong
  • AP Images

Devante Smith-Pelly of the Washington Capitals wasn't down with Blackhawks fans allegedly chanting "basketball" at him during Saturday's game in Chicago.

During the third period of the game between the Chicago Blackhawks and Washington Capitals, Washington player Devante Smith-Pelly was in the penalty box, "when four people in the audience made their alleged remarks", the Chicago Tribune reported. Washington coach Barry Trotz went in on the fans after the game, saying "There's absolutely no place in the game of hockey or in our country for racism" and calling the incident "disgusting", and Smith-Pelly responded himself Sunday with some strong comments. I think it's disgusting.

"Athletes in our country don't deserve that".

The Blackhawks and United Center officials reacted swiftly by ejecting four fans shortly after an off-ice official sitting next to Smith-Pelly - serving a fighting major for a scrap with Chicago's Connor Murphy - notified building security. "We are committed to providing an inclusive environment for everyone who attends out games and these actions will never be tolerated". "It just shows ignorance".

Assistant captain Brooks Orpik said: "I wish I could say it's surprising but it's probably not all that surprising".


Unfortunately, this isn't the first time that Smith-Pelly has been subjected to such treatment from fans.

Devils 4, Lightning 3: Miles Wood's goal at 1:24 of the third period gave New Jersey a victory over Tampa Bay at Amalie Arena.

There are fewer than 30 black players now on National Hockey League rosters. February is also Black History Month in the United States. It was on full display in 2012 when scores of angry Boston Bruins fans used racial slurs on social media toward Joel Ward after a loss in the playoffs. It's just one word, I mean that's all it takes.

In 2011, a fan was fined $200 after pleading guilty to engaging in a prohibited activity for throwing a banana on the ice at Philadelphia Flyers forward Wayne Simmonds, who is black, during an exhibition game at London, Ontario. In 2017 he told the Toronto Star that he had been told to "go back to playing basketball" in the past by a fan. So it's really lonely in that sense.

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