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The National Hockey League is not known for diversity. At this year’s PyeongChang Olympics, it was the first time in history a Black man, Jordan Greenway played for an Olympic-competing U.S. hockey team.  After all, there are approximately just 30 Black players in the NHL today. And recently, Detroit Red Wings prospect Givani Smith, one of the league’s few Black players, needed a police escort due to racist taunts.

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The 20-year-old athlete has been dealing with racist taunts since the beginning of the season.  New York Rangers general manager Mike McKenzie said, “It’s heartbreaking to be honest. He shouldn’t have to endure it. He did a good job of turning the other way. I think the unfortunate part — and it pains me to say this — is that he’s probably used to it by now. He’s probably heard things before, which is brutal.”

According to ESPN, Smith was suspended from an Ontario Hockey League playoff game last week “for giving the middle finger to the opposing bench, but before and after that incident he was subjected to racial slurs and threats, according to his team.” Considering all of the savage violence in hockey, it is deeply disappointing Smith was suspended for flipping someone off.

Waterloo Region Record reporter Josh Brown claims Smith giving the middle finger “sparked a series of racially charged comments on social media” and “One troglodyte reportedly sent a photo to Smith’s personal Facebook account with the caption reading ‘Hockey N***er and another sent a death threat.”

Now, Smith needs a police escort from the airport and he watched Monday’s NFL Playoff Game 7 from the press box with a security guard outside of his door, all because of racist NHL fans.

Sadly, this is nothing new. Devante Smith-Pelly of the Washington Capitals dealt with racial taunts earlier this year and Wayne Simmonds of the Philadelphia Flyers has been open about racism on the ice. Hopefully, the NHL and the Ontario Hockey League can find better ways to handle racism and make the ice a safer place for its Black players.


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Black Detroit Red Wings Prospect Givani Smith Gets Hit With Racist Taunts At Game  was originally published on