Racist Twitter CommentsAfter Washington Capitals forward Joel Ward, who is one of only a few black players in the NHL,  scored a series clinching game-7 overtime goal against the Boston Bruins, disgruntled Boston fans posted racially charged tweets on his Twitter page, according to ESPN.

The 31-year old, 4-year NHL vet, told USA Today that he had never experienced racist remarks since he had entered the league, but he will not let the naysayers remarks ruin what he considered to be the biggest goal of his career.

Ward was made aware of the tweets by his teammate Jeff Halpern.

"Halpern just took offense that people weren't talking about the goal, (but rather) getting into racist remarks," Ward said. "I think he was telling me he had my back, and felt bad that (some Twitter users) were talking about the negative side, instead of how we are moving on," he added.

The Bruins, who were defeated by Ward's goal said in a statement that the organization was "very disappointed by the racist comments that were made following the game last night. These classless, ignorant views are in no way a reflection of anyone associated with the Bruins organization."

Further the NHL issued a statement stating:

"The racially charged comments distributed via digital media following last night's game were ignorant and unacceptable. The people responsible for these comments have no place associating themselves with our game."

Capitals owner Ted Leonsis took his discontent with the racist tweets to the next level when he posted the following via his blog:

"What these people have said and done is unforgivable. I hope they are now publicly identified and pay a huge price for their beliefs," Leonsis said. "There should be zero tolerance for this kind of hate mongering. We will as an organization support Joel Ward. He has been a great teammate and a great citizen.

"He is now the star of stars in our city for his heroics (Wednesday) night. He is a friend and a fantastic player -- who delivered -- as advertised for us and our fans in the playoffs."

Anson Carter, a former black forward, who played for the Boston Bruins for 4 seasons and also called the game, said that he was very surprised by the comments because the very same fans had treated well during his stint there.

"I thought we were beyond that. But then again, nothing surprises me," Carter said. "I know racism exists. But if people think all NHL fans are racist, that's the furthest thing from the truth."

Carter further said that Ward's goal was one of the biggest moments for a black player in the history of the NHL.

The reaction to Ward's goal "sets the league back in terms of perception," Carter said. "The league has come a long way. To the casual fan, people may have in the back of their minds that it's a racist sport, and this validates that idea."

Last month in England, a soccer fan was criminally convicted and jailed for 56 days for inciting racial hatred after he posted racist tweets about a black soccer player who had collapsed during a match.

It makes me wonder whether the U.S. may try to criminally punish this sort of racially charged speech in order to deter it in the future.

It is a shame that a moment that should be celebrated by all who enjoy hockey, black white or blue, has now been overshadowed by ignorant racist comments.

What do you think?

 

 

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