If you do something as stupid and gross as shout racist comments at a player during a Chicago Blackhawks game, you’re going to be banned for life. The team released a statement Monday saying that it’s done just that to the four fans who were ejected Saturday for spewing offensive garbage at Capitals forward Devante Smith-Pelly.
“We have contacted the select individuals involved in the incident on Saturday to notify them that they are no longer welcome at our home games. Racist comments and other inappropriate behavior are not tolerated by the Chicago Blackhawks,” a team spokesperson said according to The Athletic’s Scott Powers.
Four fans were ejected from the Blackhawks’ game against the Capitals on Saturday night after being reported for shouting racist comments at Smith-Pelly, who is one of less than 30 black players in the NHL. A Capitals PR person said after the game that they chanted “basketball, basketball, basketball” at him, an apparent suggestion that he should be playing a different sport than the one he’s devoted his life to.
The response from the team and others involved has been swift. Capitals coach Barry Trotz called the fans’ actions “disgusting” after the game, and both the NHL and Blackhawks released statements apologizing for the matter.
Blackhawks forward Anthony Duclair, who is also a black man, said to the Chicago Sun-Times that such kind of behavior cannot be ignored. “You can’t just brush it off. You have to make sure these people are held accountable,” he said.
It’s not really clear how you ban somebody from getting their hands on a ticket and walking into the United Center, but the Blackhawks are making it clear those people and others who behave similarly will not be welcomed.
The team also provided some good information on how to report people who might be behaving inappropriately in their seats:
The team would like to remind fans that they can alert security by texting the following to 69050: UCASSIST <SPACE> followed by the seating section, row and a brief description of the issue.— Mark Lazerus (@MarkLazerus) February 19, 2018
Going to a hockey game should be fun. Being racist is not fun.