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National Hockey League commissioner Bettman condemns 'reprehensible' Smith-Pelly abuse

National Hockey League commissioner Bettman condemns 'reprehensible' Smith-Pelly abuse

Last year, in an interview with the Toronto Star, Smith-Perry opened up about a similar incident from his rookie season in 2011, when a fan told Smith-Perry to "go back to playing basketball" at a rookie tournament in Penticton, British Columbia.

The Washington Capitals' Devante Smith-Pelly, a visiting black player, was taunted by four male fans shouting "basketball, basketball, basketball" Saturday night during the Chicago Blackhawks' game against the Capitals.

The Blackhawks also released a statement Saturday after the game.

Washington's Smith-Pelly, who is black, was serving a major penalty for fighting Chicago's Connor Murphy when the fans taunted him in the penalty box.

"The National Hockey League condemns this unacceptable and reprehensible behaviour. The League fully supports the actions taken by the United Center and the Blackhawks to eject the offenders and would expect the same response to any similarly unacceptable behavior at any of our arenas".

"While this incident was isolated in nature, no player, coach, official or fan should ever have to endure such abuse at one of our games", Bettman said. "You'd think there'd be some sort of change or progression, but we're still working towards it I guess, and we're going to keep working towards it".

The Blackhawks issued a statement apologizing to Smith-Pelly and the Capitals following the game, and said they "are committed to providing an inclusive environment".

Multiple fans were ejected at tonight's Blackhawks-Capitals game in Chicago.

"There's absolutely no place in the game of hockey or our country for racism". After hearing the comments, the player walked over to the glass partition while holding his hockey stick and verbally confronted the fans. "It just shows ignorance", said Trotz, who said Smith-Pelly was upset about the incident after the game. Just because I'm a professional hockey player: they just don't understand.

During the 2014 playoffs, the Boston Bruins denounced fans who posted racial comments on social media targeting then-Montreal Canadiens defenceman P.K. Subban, who is black, after he scored in double overtime.

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