Washington Capitals hockey player Devante Smith-Pelly blasted the “disgusting” racist chant directed at him during an NHL game in Chicago Saturday night that led to the ejection of several fans.
The incident occurred during a game between the Chicago Blackhawks and the Capitals, in which forward Devante Smith-Pelly was sent to the penalty box after fighting with Blackhawks defenseman Connor Murphy.
Sitting in the box and surrounded by hometown fans, the 25-year-old Smith-Pelly, a black Canadian, soon became incensed after four Blackhawks fans began racially taunting him with a chant of “basketball,” a Capitals spokesperson told ESPN.
“It’s pretty obvious what that means,” Smith-Pelly told reporters Sunday. “It’s just one word, and that’s all it takes. I got the idea.”
“It’s disgusting,” Smith-Pelly said. “It’s sad that in 2018 we’re still talking about the same thing.”
The four fans were ejected from the arena after Smith-Pelly told a nearby official, according to ESPN.
The Blackhawks apologized for the actions of their fans.
“The fans were immediately removed and we apologize to Smith-Pelly and the Washington Capitals organization,” the organization said in a statement. “We are committed to providing an inclusive environment for everyone who attends our games and these actions will never be tolerated.”