A game-winning goal scored by Washington Capitals forward Joel Ward, a Black Canadian, in overtime of game seven against the Boston Bruins April 25 set off a rash of racist tweets that have many in the sports world upset.
“Shame on these folks who decided to take to their keyboards and show their ignorance and their racism and hate,” Capitals owner Ted Leonsis wrote in a blog post. “What these people have said and done is unforgivable. I hope they are now publicly identified and pay a huge price for their beliefs.”
The National Hockey League was as offended as Leonsis, releasing a statement distancing itself from the comments and the fans that made them.
“The racially charged comments distributed via digital media following last night’s game were ignorant and unacceptable,” the statement read. “The people responsible for these comments have no place associating themselves with our game.”
The Bruins have also denounced the tweets, saying “these classless, ignorant views are in no way a reflection of anyone associated with the Bruins organization."
According to The Boston Globe, Anson Carter, a former Black hockey player, tweeted after Ward’s goal and received in reply a racist tweet from an Eastern Connecticut State University student. He reported the tweet to the school and was contacted by the school’s vice president of student affairs before receiving an apology from the student.
“I told him, ‘Don’t think you can hide behind your computer and say that to someone,’ ’’ Carter told the Globe. “Don’t act a certain way just because you can’t see my face, because you wouldn’t say that to me in person.”
Ward, meanwhile, is trying to stay above the fray. He said simply that his team won the game and is moving on to second round.
“It doesn't faze me at all,” Ward told USA Today. “We won, and we are moving on. … People are going to say what they want to say.”
The incident comes after a September incident in which a fan threw a banana at Philadelphia Flyers forward Wayne Simmonds.
To see the racist comments from the Bruin fans click here