Why is anyone surprised that this still keeps happening?
Because of that time we watched an eight-minute, 46-second video from summer 2020? Because we “learned and listened?” Because we made the effort to learn about those who are different when that really should have been happening in the first place?
Because we support the Hockey Diversity Alliance pushing for a movement the NHL still cannot fully support? Because we were happy Willie O’Ree’s number was finally retired in 2022 knowing full well a trailblazer such as this should have received the honor many years earlier?
Maybe the real question we need to be asking is: Are we expecting too much from those within hockey when it comes to whether or not this game will ever get better for everyone?
Racism and the racist acts that come with it are not isolated incidents. They happen. They keep happening. They are going to continue happening.
Look at what we saw this weekend alone. The AHL announced Friday it suspended San Jose Barracudas forward Krystof Hrabik for 30 games for using a racist gesture against Tucson Roadrunners forward Boko Imama. You would think a player getting suspended for 30 games – regardless of the league – would be enough to send even the simplest of messages. The message in this case being there should be enough incentive to stay away from doing the same thing for the sake of self-interest so you also do not risk getting suspended and can continue playing hockey.
Or so it seemed until Saturday night when South Carolina Stingrays defenseman Jordan Subban tweeted how he was subjected to a racist gesture from Jacksonville Icemen defenseman Jacob Panetta in an ECHL game. Subban alleged Panetta made monkey gestures in his direction.
Subban’s older brother and New Jersey Devils defenseman, P.K. Subban, tweeted a video of the incident showing the interaction.