To the four racist fans who taunted Devante Smith-Pelly over the weekend,
Hockey is for everyone.
I could sit here and type how I think what you did was stupid, embarrassing and disrespectful to say the least, but that’s already been covered by plenty of others.
Going to sporting events is supposed to be a fun, enjoyable moment. Whether you’re with your family or friends, it’s a hell of an experience. But it’s jamokes like you four who can easily ruin it for other fans and even players.
It’s one thing to taunt a player by saying they suck or maybe a toss up a middle finger to them – but to taunt them racially, to tell them to go back to playing basketball or whatever the hell you said is flat out stupid.
Going to hockey games is especially fun – I’ve never had a bad time at a game even if my team loses. The experience is what makes it enjoyable – making friends with the fans in your section, screaming at the top of your lungs when the lamp lights or yelling “bullshit” at the refs when they make a bad call.
It’s fun to taunt the away fans and players too – by booing them, saying their team sucks or spewing profanities – it’s all in good fun. But there’s a difference between having fun and being an asshole.
And you four crossed that line.
As a Boston fan, I’ve heard it plenty of times that our fans are racist. We hear it constantly. We heard it just this past year when Adam Jones of the Baltimore Orioles claimed fans were yelling racist profanities at him.
We heard it after Game 7 against the Philadelphia Flyers when Joel Ward scored the game-winning goal. I’m not denying my fan base hasn’t made racist remarks because they most certainly have. I still don’t condone it. I still think it’s low and disrespectful.
But I also know it doesn’t represent an entire fan base.
I don’t know what you were trying to accomplish by spewing your nonsense – but you got the reaction from a player, you got banned from home games and you got me to write this piece. So congratulations.
I’m sure you will still attend Blackhawks games, so when you do, do everyone a favor: keep your racist remarks to yourself. Don’t ruin the experience for the family sitting behind you leaving them to explain to their children why you’re being escoted out or why what you said was racist.
Don’t leave a negative taste in a professional athletes mouth – he’s here to play hockey and to bring joy to the fans.
There’s plenty of other ways to heckle the players and opposing fans and I know this happens more often than I’d like to admit.
But come on. It’s 2018 – we live in a world of cell phones where every last thing is recorded. How dumb can you possibly be?
I hope this serves as a learning experience for you but I also would have hoped you would have known better at your age. Smith-Pelly is still going to play each night for the Capitals while you sit at home watching your Blackhawks because you can’t attend the home games.
Like I said in the beginning of this piece, hockey is for everyone.
Lauren Campbell (@lalalalaurrrren)