Hockey defenceman Jacob Panetta dropped from minor-league team after 'racist gesture' made towards Jordan Subban
Some readers might find the details in the story disturbing.
Jacksonville Icemen defenceman Jacob Panetta has been dropped from the team after he made what was perceived as a racist gesture towards Jordan Subban of the South Carolina Stingrays.
Subban’s brother, New Jersey Devils defenceman P.K. Subban, did not mince words when calling out Panetta on social media for his behaviour.
When the Icemen posted on Twitter an innocuous description of the beginning of overtime including multiple penalties for both teams during Saturday night's game, Jordan Subban responded with more details.
"More like @Jpanetta12 was too much of a coward to fight me and as soon as I began to turn my back he started making monkey gestures at me so I punched him in the face multiple times and he turtled like the coward he is," Jodan wrote. "There, fixed it."
Jordan's brother responded in kind on Instagram with a video of the incident and ensuing tussle, adding that he heard fans yelling the N-word during the brawl.
"You shouldn’t be so quick to delete your Twitter or your Instagram account," wrote the former Habs star and Norris Trophy winner. "You will probably be able to play again… that’s what history says, but things are changing. now not just the hockey world knows your true colours… your hometown of Belleville knows, your family, and friends know you’re a fraud."
Panetta's Twitter account is now deleted and his Instagram account is private.
The Jacksonville Icemen announced Sunday that Panetta has been released of his position “effective immediately.”
“Our core values as an ownership group include one love and zero tolerance for racism or any other forms of hate against any group whatsoever,” reads a statement posted to Twitter.
An investigation by the East Coast Hockey League (ECHL) is currently underway.
Panetta made a statement Sunday evening in a video posted to Twitter, claiming that he’s made the same gesture towards non-racialized players in the past, and that the gesture did not have racial implications.
“I did not contemplate at the time that it would be received by some as a racial gesture, and I attempted to convey this to Jordan when we were sent to the dressing room,” he said.
“I see now, from Jordan’s reaction, that he and others certainly viewed it as a racial gesture and that my actions have caused a great deal of anger and upset to Jordan, his family and countless others,” adding that he apologies for the “suffering my actions have caused.”
TWO CALL-OUTS THIS WEEK
It is the second time this week a player in one of the leagues just below the NHL has called out racist actions on the ice.
Tuscon Roadrunners forward Boko Imama called out San Jose Barracuda forward Krystof Hrabik for gestures he made during a game. Hrabik has since apologized and is serving a 30-game suspension.
Stingrays president Rob Concannon issued a statement on Sunday.
"The South Carolina Stingrays are disgusted and appalled by last night's incident involving Jordan Subban," he wrote. "Our organization stands in support of our friend and teammate, Jordan, as well as all other players who continue to deal with racism and discrimination. This behaviour has to stop and is unacceptable."
Jacksonville issued a statement saying it would cooperate with the league review.
P.K. Subban said he was impressed at his brother's teammates showing support, and pointed out that fans were yelling the N-word during the fight.
"We all know what’s ok and what’s not," said P.K. Subban. "Even your own teammates wanted to see you get your clock cleaned. This happens a lot and it never gets exposed in the lower leagues."
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