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Jacob Panetta posts apology video, says gesture toward Subban wasn't 'racially motivated'

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Now-former Jacksonville Icemen and ECHL player Jacob Panetta posted an apology video on social media after being suspended indefinitely by the league and cut by his team for making a racist gesture towards Jordan Subban on Saturday.

Shortly after the suspension and release were publicly announced Sunday, Panetta posted a video to Twitter in which he apologized to Subban and gave further explanation as to what allegedly happened on the ice.

Below is a full transcription of Panetta's video statement.

"Jordan Subban and I were talking in a heated manner, when the linesman got in between us. When the linesman was between us, I said to him, ‘you’re only tough once the refs get involved.’ And I did a tough-guy, bodybuilder-like gesture towards him. I’ve made the same bodybuilder gesture to non-racialized players a number of times when there have been on-ice confrontations. There is video from previous games which demonstrates this.

My actions towards Jordan were not because of race, and were not intended as a racial gesture. I did not contemplate at the time that it would be perceived as a racial gesture. And I attempted to convey this to Jordan as we were heading to the dressing room during the game. I was confused after the incident until I saw and was told how people viewed it because of the players involved. I want to reiterate that no racist slurs, noises, or anything of the like, were said by me during the incident. 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.

I want to express to everyone, and especially to Jordan, that my actions were not racially motivated at all, and I sincerely apologize for the pain and suffering and anger my actions have caused him, his family, and everyone that was hurt by this. However unintentional my actions were, I acknowledge the impact of my gesture and will commit to better understand the impact going forward. Those who know me understand (it) was not intended to be racial, it is not who I am, it is not how I have been raised. But at the same time, I need to and I will learn from this. Racism and other forms of discrimination have no place in society, including hockey. I believed that before, and I still believe that now. I intend to fully participate in the ECHL’s ongoing investigation in this matter. And I will continue to try and reach out and contact Jordan and the Subban family to express my regret. I want to thank the people who gave me the chance to play in Jacksonville and play professional hockey and my teammates for the opportunity to play for them. Thank you."

Panetta's suspension is pending a hearing with the ECHL.

The entire series of post-game events began when Jordan shared his view of the altercation on Twitter immediately after the game.

“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,” Subban wrote. “There fixed it.”

After making the incident public, his brother and New Jersey Devils defenceman P.K. Subban released video of the gesture.

The video was widely shared within hours, causing the hockey world to react to the footage, with calls for the league and team to take action — which came in the form of an indefinite suspension and later Panetta's release from his team.

The 25-year-old Panetta was in his second year of playing professional hockey after spending four years in the NCAA at Colgate University.

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