It’s 2018 and Black athletes are still being subjected to racial slurs. The latest incident occurred during an NHL match between the Washington Capitols and Chicago Blackhawks.
During the hockey match, Devante Smith-Pelly, who is Black, was sent to the penalty box following a fight. While in the penalty box, racist fans yelled, “Basketball, basketball, basketball,” at Smith-Pelly, according to the Washington Post.
The slur suggested that Smith-Pelly should be playing basketball, a sport dominated by Black athletes.
Smith-Pelli confronted the racist fans and spoke to them while in the penalty box. Several fans were eventually removed from the arena. Following the match, Smith-Pelly decided not to speak with the media. His teammates told reporters that he was extremely bothered by the racial slurs.
There have been several notorious racial events in hockey. In 2011, a fan threw a banana at Philadelphia Flyers’ Black player Wayne Simmonds. In 2012, racist fans attacked Joel Ward on social media after a match in Boston.
The NHL, which only has 30 Black players, have attempted to be more inclusive by making February “NHL’s Hockey is for Everyone” month.
But the NHL is not alone. The NFL owners blatantly black-balled Colin Kaepernick because he did not stand for the national anthem. He remained unsigned throughout the season as less-deserving quarterbacks were signed.
The NHL has condemned the slurs yelled at Smith-Pelly.