Joel Ward of the Washington Capitals was born in Toronto to parents who migrated from Barbados. He used to hear racist taunts playing in youth hockey tournaments, but told the Washington Post this season that "I've [heard] nothing in the NHL."
On Wednesday night,Ward scored the series - winning goal against the Boston Bruins in overtime of Game 7.
The kind of racist language that Ward had avoided throughout his NHL career bubbled to the surface like sewage on social media.
And so on. There was outrage across the hockey world about the language being used about Ward, and on Thursday morning Washington Capitals owner Ted Leonsis thanked those who called out the offending parties via his blog titled "Keyboard courage and ignorance":
Some of the reaction are as follows
"Hey Joel Ward!! You [expletive] spear chucking monkey, why don't you actually DO SOMETHING. You're totally irrelevant"
"How the [expletive] did Joel ward get out of my plantation? #WheresMyCotton"
"Warning to Joel Ward. Your one of three black guys in Canada. I will find you…and I will kill you."
Shame on these folks who decided to take to their keyboards and show their ignorance and their racism and hate.
What these people have said and done is unforgivable. I hope they are now publicly identified and pay a huge price for their beliefs. There should be zero tolerance for this kind of hate mongering. Their messages should now stay glued into the algorithms to place a forever warning and a mark upon these people and their actions. They shouldn't be able to escape their keystrokes.
We will as an organization support Joel Ward. He has been a great teammate and a great citizen. He is now the star of stars in our city for his heroics last night. He is a friend and a fantastic player — who delivered — as advertised for us and our fans in the playoffs.
This is a small collection of tweets, and some may not even have been hockey fans; and almost none of them were directed to Ward's feed. It's the kind of thing you might see on any night on social media about black athletes -- a sad commentary, no doubt -- magnified by the circumstances of Game 7.
It doesn't happen in football alone