WARNING: THIS ARTICLE CONTAINS EXPLICIT LANGUAGE. READER DISCRETION ADVISED.
Last night, the Montreal Canadiens defeated the Boston Bruins 2-1 at the Bell Centre. The win pushed the Canadiens to first place in the Atlantic division, despite Boston having played two games less.
While the Montreal Canadiens and the Boston Bruins are a great hockey story, it’s unfortunate that in every single match-up between these two teams, a darker story seems to lurk up from the ice floor. Despite not receiving a point in the game, Canadiens defenceman P.K. Subban was one of the most often mentioned players in the game on Twitter.
Now, not all of the tweets were inflammatory. Most expressed anger at his alleged slewfoots, his attitude on the ice, if he was good enough to win the Norris, his on-ice play in the game and if he belongs on Team Canada. The next level goes to people calling Subban a “bitch”. Now I understand where most are coming from on this. They are saying it because he doesn’t drop the gloves, especially against Bruin favourite Brad Marchand. However, it at times went one step further:
Rumor has it Canadian woman’s national team offered Subban an Olympic tryout.
— Tom Ford (@Tommy_Charette) December 6, 2013
Here’s the problem with this tweet, and many similar. @Tommy_Charette is trying to insult Subban by calling him a woman. Being a woman is not an insult. Nor is it an insult for anyone to play for the Women’s National team. This really needs to stop. I don’t care if women don’t play NHL hockey. There’s a thousand ways to show disapproval for Subban. A gendered insult should not be one of them. Unfortunately, this is not the most common insult directed toward Subban. Over a dozen of which were directed towards the colour of his skin. Now remember, the Boston Bruins drafted P.K’s brother Malcom and currently have Jarome Iginla on their first line. Willie O’Ree, the first black hockey player played for the Boston Bruins. He received a slew of racism from fans in the audience. This was in the late 50s. 50 years later, it’s now Bruins fans directing it towards Subban.
@ThomasClem10 I hope PK Subban gets sold after the game — Cameron McGetrick (@TheGreatCamG) December 6, 2013
Pk is such a dumb n****** its funny watching his baboon lips — Jlanglais37 (@JakeLanglais) December 6, 2013
Editor’s note we at LWOS have blanked out the N-word, however the full word was used in Jake Langlais tweet.
Subban’s a nog — Kevin Tillett (@TheKank) December 6, 2013
And I’ll finish with the worst of them (which has been since deleted but I screenshotted):
I didn’t see any Boston Bruins fans calling them out at the time (though we hope there was and we just missed it) but if you saw such tweets and didn’t I’ll direct this to you: tell them to stop. If you have any respect for yourself as a Bruins fan, the team that let Willie O’Ree skate for you, stand up. It ain’t gonna make you a P.K. Subban fan. It isn’t going to show disrespect to the team. Do you want Malcolm Subban to succeed? Think of what he’s going to think when your fans are saying that to his brother. Think of Iginla, do you think he respects you for saying that?
If you see these posts on your Twitter feed, call them out. Not just Subban. If it’s directed towards Iginla, Malcolm, Wayne Simmonds, Seth Jones, it doesn’t matter. Show that racism doesn’t belong in the National Hockey League. It’s tough enough that a great city like Boston has an unfortunate reputation for racism, but if you allow people like these guys to represent you? Sorry, you deserve it. You’ve just allowed a minority of racist hockey fans speak for you.
Montreal vs. Boston should be about hockey. Help make it be about that again.
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photo credit: clydeorama via photopin cc