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4 Chicago Blackhawks fans ejected after throwing racist taunts at Devante Smith-Pelly

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The fans have been banned from home Blackhawks games after chanting “basketball” at the Washington Capitals forward.

Washington Capitals v New Jersey Devils Photo by Bruce Bennett/Getty Images

Four Chicago Blackhawks fans were thrown out of a game on Saturday evening after it was discovered that they had been chanting racist remarks toward Washington Capitals forward Devante Smith-Pelly. The incident occurred in Chicago in the third period during Smith-Pelly’s five-minute major for fighting.

The fans, who were sitting next to the penalty box, reportedly chanted “basketball” to Smith-Pelly, who is one of a handful of black players currently playing in the NHL. The chant implied that Smith-Pelly, as a black man, was not suited to play the sport of hockey, and he instead should play basketball:

It was confirmed after the incident that four fans were ejected from the game in the third period due to the racist taunts.

While there is no audio and video of the taunts, the moment was clearly caught on cameras as Smith-Pelly confronts the fans in the penalty box:

After the game, Capitals head coach Barry Trotz spoke to the media about the incident. In his statement, he denounced the fans, saying that “there’s absolutely no place in the game of hockey, or in our country, for racism.”

Smith-Pelly was not present during the postgame interviews, as he was notably upset by the incident, according to Trotz.

The Blackhawks also made a statement of their own, condemning the fans who taunted Smith-Pelly with racist remarks. The organization apologized and reaffirmed its stance that they are working toward an “inclusive environment for everyone” and that “these actions will never be tolerated.”

Here’s how Smith-Pelly responded to the media on Sunday. He called the fans “ignorant” who were being “idiots.”

The Blackhawks released a statement on Monday stating that they have effectively banned the fans, as “racist comments and other inappropriate behavior are not tolerated” by the team.

The month of February marks the NHL’s “Hockey Is For Everyone” movement that celebrates the inclusiveness of the sport and its fans.