GANGNEUNG, SOUTH KOREA I just want to drop a few names on the Chicago Blackhawks “fans” who had their butts not-so-surgically removed from their United Center seats Saturday for allegedly hurling racist taunts at Washington Capitals forward Devante Smith-Pelly.
Dirk Graham, Johnny Oduya, Dustin Byfuglien, Ray Emery and Trevor Daley.
These are black players or players of African descent who skated for the team that you root for – or rooted for before Blackhawks management ejected you from fairly high-priced seats for supposedly directing racial remarks toward Smith-Pelly.
Black players helped make the Blackhawks winners and hoist Stanley Cups.
Oduya was a mainstay on defense on the ‘Hawks 2012-13 and 2014-15 championship teams. Emery was the solid backup goaltender for the 2012-13 Cup winner. And Byfuglien was a disruptive power forward that the Philadelphia Flyers struggled to control in the 2009-10 Stanley Cup Final.
Graham was a gritty heat-and-soul captain of a Blackhawks teams that were competitive. He even scored a hat trick in Game 4 in the 1992 Stanley Cup Final won by the Pittsburgh Penguins.
These are all men of color who played for your team. For. Your. Team.
Imagine if Oduya, Byfuglien, and Emery adhered to the taunts aimed at Smith-Pelly and they played for, say, the NBA’s Atlanta Hawks instead of the NHL’s Blackhawks?
The idea that you could be shocked and appalled in this day and age at the sight of a black guy being on the ice or in the penalty box at a hockey game means you either don’t know your own team or that Smith-Pelly’s skin simply got under yours.
Devante Smith-Pelly on the incident last night in Chicago. pic.twitter.com/Oz9qfFWMQH
— Washington Capitals (@Capitals) February 18, 2018
Either way, it wasn’t a good look. I wonder what recently-acquired Blackhawks forward Anthony Duclair must be thinking after watching those home “fans” giving an opposing minority player the business by using race as a weapon.
Kudos to the management of the Chicago Blackhawks, Washington Capitals and National Hockey League for taking swift action on this ugly incident.
Captials Head Coach Barry Trotz was right when he said “There is absolutely no place in the game of hockey or our country for racism.”
“It just shows ignorance,” he added.
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