I am a black man. I love hockey. I hate the Bruins and the Capitals for different hockey reasons.
I hate the Bruins because I’m a New Yorker and hate anything Boston. I hate the Caps because they’ve bounced my Rangers in the last 2 years that they’ve played in the playoffs.
I don’t hate anyone person on each team. Sure I call Alex Ovechkin names, don’t like Tim Thomas for not seeing president Barack Obama and I think Caps fans are bums but that’s just me being a fan.
The reason for this politically correct explanation of my hockey allegiances is because after last nights racist twitter bashing of Capitals forward Joel Ward I feel like fans need to get a grip on reality.
In case you missed it Ward beat Boston with a rebound putback in overtime to lift the Caps to the second round of the Stanley Cup playoffs.
Almost immeadiately after scoring his winning goal angry Bruins fans took to twitter to bash Ward and mainly used his skin color as a target.
The word nigger was spewed in more tweets than I would like to remember and once again put Boston’s race relations in a bad light.
Boston has long had a reputation of racism towards black athletes and last night Bruins fans did there best in bringing them back to life.
The tweets were a reminder of just how stupid something like racism is and how even more stupid it is in 2012 in Boston where it’s most notable athletes are Paul Pierce, David Ortiz and has hailed guys like Deion Branch and Pedro Martinez in the past, all of whom are dark skinned.
I understand the anger associated with watching your team lose in the playoffs. Last year I blasted any Caps fan I saw for not being real hockey fans and for the Caps being lucky.
But it’s a game. What do you get for taking your frustration out on a guy who was just doing his job and scored the biggest goal of his life?
Furthermore why is his race such a big deal?
What’s the satisfaction gained from sitting in front of your computer and calling Joel Ward the N bomb on twitter, Facebook or any other social network?
It’s degrading, despicable and gives hockey another unnecessary black eye.
Hockey has had the worst race relations due to its lack of ethnicity and much ballyhooed moments of ignorance (yeah I mean you the guy who threw a banana at Wayne Simmonds in London, Ontario back in October). I know hockey isn’t the only place where incidents involving race happens (go to a Utah Jazz game in the NBA and see for yourself) but because of its demographic and history it’s always magnified when things like this happens.
In the heat of the moment as fans we all lose our cool, but to degrade another man because of his skin and ethnicity is unacceptable and intolerable.
I hope that the people who wrote those things take a step back and realize how awful it was to put those things out to the public and do their best to not do it again.
Does it anger me as a black man? Yes it does. But it won’t deter me from watching a sport I love and follow immensely.
I’m a huge hockey fan and will continue to be one. Incidents like these are not reflective of the league. I know how great a sport it is for all cultures that participate in it and hope that people find different avenues to express their frustration.
I also hope that if the Caps play the Rangers again that we kick their tails up and down the ice and get revenge for our last two oustings.
It should be hatred of team in sports not hatred of race.