A group of fans have been removed from a game on Saturday night in Chicago for remarks aimed at Washington Capitals player Devante Smith-Pelly.
— CNN (@CNN) February 18, 2018
The fans were shouting “basketball, basketball, basketball” at the NHL star, reported The Washington Post.
Smith-Pelly, who is black, was sitting in the penalty box during the game between the Washington Capitals and Chicago Blackhawks at United Center. He suddenly got up from his seat and approached the glass where fans nearby appeared to be shouting at him, a video by WGN shows.
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“There is absolutely no place in the game of hockey or in our country for racism, and I think it is disgusting,” Capitals’ Coach Barry Trotz told reporters after the game.
“There’s absolutely no place in the game of hockey or in our country for racism.” — #Caps Coach Barry Trotz on an incident involving Devante Smith-Pelly on Saturday in Chicago. Four fans were ejected for taunting DSP when he was in penalty box. pic.twitter.com/kxn3uClSBY
— Tarik El-Bashir (@Tarik_ElBashir) February 18, 2018
In a statement, the Chicago Blackhawks said the team was aware of the incident and apologized to Smith-Pelly and the Capitals.
“The fans were immediately removed, and we apologize to Smith-Pelly and the Washington Capitals organization,” the statement said. “We are committed to providing an inclusive environment for everyone who attends our games, and these actions will never be tolerated.”
Statement on the incident at tonight's game pic.twitter.com/7o02AaLQwz
— Chicago Blackhawks (@NHLBlackhawks) February 18, 2018