Chicago Hockey Fans Bounced For Racist Taunts Aimed At Capitals’ Devante Smith-Pelly
Four Chicago Blackhawk fans have been permanently barred from future home games following an incident in which they taunted a visiting Washington Capitals player with racial taunts.
During the third period of Saturday night’s game, Devante Smith-Pelly of the Capitals was sitting in the penalty box following a fight when four Chicago fans seated directly behind him began chanting “Basketball, Basketball.” It was apparently a reference to the fact that Smith-Pelly is black and basketball is a sport where the majority of the professional players are African-American.
The fans were immediately ejected from the game and later banned from upcoming Blackhawk home games. The team also issued a public apology for the incident and said that type of behavior would not be tolerated. Blackhawks coach Joel Quenneville later apologized to Washington Capitals coach Barry Trotz and NHL commissioner Gary Bettman issued a statement saying there was “no place in hockey for racism.”
In a press conference on Sunday, Smith-Pelly told reporters he had heard these taunts before. “In college, I heard people yelling ‘Go back to basketball’ quite a bit,” he said. “You would think that things would have changed by 2018, but that doesn’t seem to be the case.”