Devante Smith-Pelly of Capitals Calls Racial Taunts in Chicago ‘Disgusting’

Devante Smith-Pelly of Capitals Calls Racial Taunts in Chicago ‘Disgusting’


“While this was isolated in nature, no player, coach, official or fan should ever have to endure such abuse at one of our games,” Bettman said.

The Capitals released a statement saying they were “extremely disappointed by the intolerant behavior” by a select group of fans in Chicago.

In thanking the Blackhawks and arena security, the Capitals said: “It is crucial to confront such appalling conduct.”

The Blackhawks issued a statement apologizing to Smith-Pelly and the Capitals following the game, and said they “are committed to providing an inclusive environment.”

Smith-Pelly was seated in the penalty box while looking and pointing to his left. He then got up with his stick and got into a verbal exchange with a male fan on other side of the glass.

Smith-Pelly said he stepped forward publicly to call out the fans for what they said because he didn’t want to “brush it under the rug.”

“I guess I’m trying to get the conversation started and show whoever these people were their true colors,” he said.

Players’ fathers joined the Capitals on their road trip, which concludes at Buffalo on Monday, allowing Smith-Pelly an opportunity to discuss what happened with his family member.

“We’ve had this conversation before,” said Smith-Pelly, who is from Toronto. “So he said, ‘It’s just a few idiots being ignorant.’”

Smith-Pelly has seven goals and nine assists in 54 games is in his first season with the Capitals. He has 40 goals and 53 assists in 320 regular-season games with in seven seasons with Anaheim, Montreal, New Jersey and the Capitals.

Madison Bowey, a rookie defenseman with the Capitals, said what happened in Chicago made him “sick to my stomach.”

The assistant captain Brooks Orpik said: “I wish I could say it’s surprising but it’s probably not all that surprising.”

“I think no matter what you do, you’re going to find pockets of ignorance anywhere you go,” Orpik said. “Devo is as well liked as anyone in this room. I think it’s important for him to know that, and to know that everyone respects him a ton in this room.”

Capitals Coach Barry Trotz reiterated his postgame comments by saying there’s no place for racism in hockey or the country.

“For the 22,000 people in Chicago at the game last night, there were a lot, a lot, a lot of good people,” Trotz said. “And a few individuals keep bringing the ugly part of society out, and that was unfortunate.”

The fans’ taunts occurred during the N.H.L.’s monthlong “Hockey is for Everyone “ campaign to promote the game as being inclusive for all players regardless of race, color, religion, national origin or gender. February is also Black History Month in the United States.

The N.H.L. has had to previously deal with racial insults.

During the 2014 playoffs, the Boston Bruins denounced fans who posted racial comments on social media targeting then-Montreal Canadiens defenseman P.K. Subban, who is black, after he scored in double overtime.

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.



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