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Twitter Bigots Have no Place in Boston, says NHL

A Look Back at: Twitter Bigots Have no Place in Boston, says NHL

On May 3rd, 2014, ESPN reported that the Bruins and their coach, Claude Julien, are appalled by recent racist tweets against Canadien PK Subban.

Boston Bruins
Boston Bruins (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Subban’s winning goal against the Bruins sparked Twitter outrage that turned racist very quickly.

While fans were angry afterwards, and some threw debris, the organization says that the racist outrage doesn’t seem to have come from the fans who don black and gold and attend the games.

“I didn’t hear anything from the fans – at all,” said Bruins forward Brad Marchand. “It’s all Twitter.” 

When asked whether he’d heard racist comments while on the bench, Julien said, “Not to my knowledge, no. There’s a lot of good fans out there, and that’s the sad part about it is that your good fans get tarnished because of a couple of comments like that who don’t belong in that same group.” 

With social media moving almost as fast as the speed of light (or so it seems), anger is the emotion that moves the fastest.  Couple it with racism, and it all seemed even more accelerated.

Over Eight Years Later: Who Were These Twitter Bigots?

I was pleasantly surprised to find the original article is still up. So, yay ESPN!

Here’s what happened.

In 2014, a Canadien player of color (PK Subban) was heckled. But this was only online. Apparently at the game, he wasn’t. And this was so even though he scored the winning goal. But the real was problem was more than a little heckling.

After all, anyone who is in professional sports should go into it operating under the assumption that they will be the subject of some heckling. I have no doubt that this is the case for everything from women’s Olympic gymnastics to arena football. And I am sure that it happens in luge and it happens in ultimate frisbee.

But it’s one thing to say – you stink. Or, your team stinks.

Or, of course, far earthier expressions.

What Was the Difference Maker?

Racism. To misquote Martin Luther King, Jr., Subban’s hockey playing was judged by the color of his skin. And not on the content of his character.

And, even more so, these bullies did the deed online. The people in the Boston Garden? Of course they didn’t want the other team to win! But (at least according to the article) they weren’t the ones hurling racial epithets at a man who was simply doing his job.

And, evidently, doing it very well.

La Plus Ça Change…

These days, it almost feels quaint to talk about this. Of course, racism doesn’t belong on Twitter or in a hockey arena. Or really anywhere else.

Yet now, it’s everywhere, or so it seems. And the more people normalize it, the more there will be.

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