Thursday, April 26, 2012

Racist Boston Hockey Fans

"People were angry, saying nigger this, nigger that, or that damn nigger or that fuckin' nigger. It was everywhere. You couldn't help hearing it. In one section there was this crazy chant--nigger, nigger, nigger. I couldn't believe it. I thought I was at a Klan rally."

Actually, Mike, a 45-year-old Italian who hates the term "n-word," was at Boston's TD Garden Wednesday night when the Washington Capitals shocked the Boston Bruins, knocking the defending champs out of the playoffs. What angered the racists, Mike explained in a Thursday phone call, was that Capitals' winger Joel Ward, a black Canadian whose parents are from Barbados, scored the winning goal in the 2-1, game 7, overtime victory, boosting the Caps into the semi-finals. "As soon as Ward scored I knew the racists would go beserk," said Mike, a gambler who was happy because he had bet on the Capitals. "Fortunately there were no black people in the stands to hear the racist crap, at least there weren't any where I was sitting."

"I'm not surprised at what those people were saying ," continued Mike, a regular at hockey games at the Garden. "Hockey is a white sport that appeals almost exclusively to white people. There are a lot of racists in Boston who go to hockey games. You hardly see any black fans there.  A black guy beats their team so you know the racism is going to come out. But there a lot of decent white people in Boston, a lot of decent white people at the hockey games too. I'm sure most people are like me--appalled at the racist assholes."

The racism wasn't confined to the TD Garden. The racists went wild on Twitter, tweeting slurs about Ward, a 31-year-old , thick -skinned NHL vet, who says he's used to the racists. Some of the tweets, which made the news, are startlingly vicious.

"You want to smack some of those people," said Mike, "but you can't--there's too many of  'em. You'd be smacking people all day. I wish I could say I'll stay away from the Garden but I love hockey and I love watching it there. Unfortunately, the racist assholes go with the territory. What can you do?"