After a racist incident against Quebecer Bokondji Imama in the American Hockey League on January 12, it is Jordan Subban’s turn to be the victim of an alleged racist gesture because of the color of his skin.
Posted at 12:20 p.m.
Updated at 7:45 p.m.
The incident took place Saturday, during a game between the South Carolina Stingrays and the Jacksonville Icemen, in the ECHL. After an altercation in the corner of the rink, Icemen defenseman Jacob Panetta taunted the younger Subban brothers by mimicking what looks like a monkey.
Obviously, it was enough for Subban to attack Panetta, even if the officials tried to hold them back, and the hockey world ignited. ECHL announced on Sunday that Panetta was suspended indefinitely pending an investigation. In the AHL, Krystof Hrabik inherited a 30-game suspension for his actions.
In the evening on Sunday, Panetta denied having committed a racist gesture in a video posted on Twitter.
“I said to Jordan, ‘You only play tough when the refs are around,’ and posed a bodybuilder in his direction. I had done this gesture several other times during matchups on the ice. There are videos to prove it. What I did was not motivated by the color of Jordan’s skin and it was not a racist gesture. I never thought it would be perceived I tried to tell Jordan before I retreated to the locker room.”
“I was confused when I was told how this gesture had been perceived. I insist to say that no racist insults or noise were emitted. I see that some thought it was a racist gesture, and I understand that this gesture caused anger in Jordan, his family, and a multitude of others. »
“I want to tell everyone, especially Jordan, that it had nothing to do with the color of his skin, and I sincerely apologize for any anger and pain my actions may have caused him, his family. , and to all who were injured. »
“However, I recognize the impact of my actions and I want to better understand them in the future. Those who know me know that this gesture was not related to the color of the skin, it is not who I am and it is not how I was brought up. At the same time, I have to learn from this incident. Racism has no place in society in general and in hockey. I believed it before, still believe it. I will cooperate with the ECHL investigation and I will try to join Jordan and the Subban family in expressing my regrets. »
The Subbans react
On Saturday, the Icemen’s social media team posted a tweet mentioning “an intense brawl which ended in penalties for each side”.
After the meeting, Jordan Subban was quick to share the tweet in question, stating that the team had forgotten to mention the actions alleged against Panetta.
“It’s more that Panetta was too cowardly to fight with me, and as soon as my back was turned, he took the opportunity to imitate a monkey, looking at me, and I settled his account by hitting him punches in the face. Afterwards, he complained like the coward he is. I corrected the situation. »
Later, a roughly 90-second video surfaced on social media and Jordan’s brother P.K. shared it across all of his platforms.
“People don’t call ECHL the jungle because my brother and the other black players are monkeys. Hey, Jacob Panetta, you shouldn’t have deleted your Twitter and Instagram accounts so quickly, surely you’ll be able to play again soon… Now it’s not just the hockey world that knows your true colors… your hometown of Belleville, your family and your friends now know that you are a scoundrel, ”wrote the former Canadian player.
The National Hockey League also issued a short press release on Sunday afternoon: “Gestures of a racist nature, in hockey or outside, are odious. The NHL will continue to provide resources to educate and inform all who need them in order to make our sport more welcoming and safer for our players and fans. »
Panetta’s team, the Jacksonville Icemen, confirmed that they would cooperate with the league. The team president, Andy Kaufmann, indicated that these actions, if proven, violated the values of the team and the organization and that the player would be immediately released. He also apologized to anyone who felt offended by what happened Saturday night.
Rob Concannon, president of the Stingrays, has indicated that his organization remains firmly loyal to his player.
“The South Carolina Stingrays are disgusted and appalled by the incident last night [samedi] involving Jordan Subban, Concannon said in a statement. Our organization supports our friend and teammate, Jordan, and all other players who continue to face racism and discrimination. »
“This behavior is unacceptable and must stop. »
Several teams reacted to these incidents during the day, including the Montreal Canadiens.
“Canadians condemn any behavior targeting a player, coach, official or fan based on their race, religion, gender or sexual orientation. As we prepare to mark Black History Month, we reiterate that racism has no place in hockey and in our society. We remain committed to making hockey a sport that is lived and played in an inclusive, safe and welcoming environment for all, free from all forms of racism and discrimination. »