Blackhawks kick out four fans for racially taunting black player

Tuesday, 20 Feb, 2018

Devante Smith-Pelly was taunted by four fans shouting "basketball, basketball, basketball" on Saturday night during the Chicago Blackhawks' game against the Washington Capitals.

The fans were ejected on Saturday after chanting, "basketball, basketball, basketball" at Smith-Pelly, who is black, while he was in the penalty box.

Smith-Pelly and the Capitals are in the middle of a playoff hunt and will play Monday afternoon in Buffalo. "I got the idea, and I'm sure they got the idea. If they're Blackhawks fans, they would know there is a black hockey player on the team". He played just one playoff game a year ago as the Hawks were swept in the first round by the Nashville Predators.

The game's television broadcast happened to be showing Smith-Pelly when he appeared to hear the remarks made by those fans, making him visibly angry.

Their actions have already been condemned by the Blackhawks and Bettman has now expressed his dismay at the incident.

"We apologize to Smith-Pelly and the Washington Capitals organization", the team said.

"You'd think there'd be some sort of change or progression, but we're still working towards it I guess and we're going to keep working towards it".

On the ice, the Blackhawks won the game 7-1 and snapped an eight-game losing streak.

This incident just goes to show that people with hate in their hearts don't care about your economic or social status; there are no limits to their racism or how low they will stoop with it. Playing in 50 games past year, the defenseman was down to 31 games this season, registering a goal and six assists in that time.

February is Black History Month, a time to celebrate the accomplishments of African-American leaders in the United States.

The NHL has had to previously deal with racial insults.

Capitals head coach Barry Trotz spoke out in defence of his player during his post-game scrum, admonishing the fans in question for their ignorance.