Seattle Thunderbirds send two players home over racist taunts

·1 min read
The Seattle Thunderbirds have sent two players home who racially taunted a teammate. (Seattle Thunderbirds - image credit)
The Seattle Thunderbirds have sent two players home who racially taunted a teammate. (Seattle Thunderbirds - image credit)

The Seattle Thunderbirds of the Western Hockey League have sent two players home for making racist comments and gestures toward one of their teammates in the locker room.

The team is not identifying the players involved.

The Seattle Times reported the major junior team's lone Black player was allegedly called a racial slur and had a banana waved in front of him. One of the dismissed players is from B.C., the other is from Alberta.

WHL commissioner Ron Robison said the incident was brought to light by a Thunderbirds staff member, not the player who was targeted.

"The Western Hockey League has a zero tolerance policy for any form of abuse, harassment and certainly racism" he said.

"We were contacted by the Seattle Thunderbirds who reviewed the incident with us. We supported the position they took with regards to the two players returning home and not remaining with the team for the balance of the season."

According to Robison the entire Thunderbirds team has just completed mandatory Respect in Sport certification, which addresses racism and diversity.

A statement from Thunderbirds general manager Bil La Forge said the team would further emphasize that comments of a racist nature would not be tolerated.

"Effective immediately the two players are no longer on the T-Birds roster. The two players removed from the roster will continue their education and personal growth in this area," said La Forge.

Robison said the two players will be given an opportunity to return to the league next season.

"We are attempting to support all the players who have been involved in this unfortunate incident," he said.