“It’s a battle I think will always be there”. Unfortunately, Joel Ward, who scored the overtime winning goal for Washington in game 7, was not talking about hockey. He was talking about race, bigotry to be exact, and how it revealed its ugly visage by way of a barrage of tweets following his overtime heroics.
Many disgruntled Boston fans, and a few fans of other NHL teams, took to their computers following Boston’s defeat and, using language most of us think belongs to antiquity, displayed their outrage that Boston would lose, at the hands of a black man no less.
Some of you might remember that this is not the first time this year race as come up in the NHL. There was the Wayne-Simmonds-banana-throwing-incident, where a London Ontario native threw a banana at Simmonds, also a black player, while attempting a breakaway.
In both cases the offended player has been overwhelmingly gracious, but also, unsurprised. Joel Ward said, when asked about the blatant bigotry aimed towards him since Boston’s elimination, “I’m a black guy playing a predominantly white sport. It’s just going to come with the territory. I’d feel naive or foolish to think that it doesn’t exist”, which is probably true, but disgustingly unnecessary. Why should it be the case that this would “come with the territory”? – this is more than an insult I’ll remind you, it’s an infringement on someone’s rights as outlined in The Charter of Rights and Freedoms – Why is it merely unfortunate?
This story has been, by and large, a minor one. The conventional wisdom here seems to be that we shouldn’t give such people any thought. The problem with that is, by way of our lack of consideration, these attitudes don’t change, and the behaviour stays relatively consistent. Instead we should pay this kind of thing a lot of attention, and I don’t mean wide-eyed astonishment that such people still exist, I mean outrage.
Written by Jesse Borg.