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A Black Hockey Player Faced Racial Taunts. Some Fans Aren’t Surprised. | Press "Enter" to skip to content

A Black Hockey Player Faced Racial Taunts. Some Fans Aren’t Surprised.

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Even before the Rangers flub, though, Hess had prioritized security for the chat, so that it would provide a safe space for a diverse group of fans seeking refuge from the sport’s majority-white fan culture.

Two Penguins executives, both of whom are black, had worked with Hess days before to arrange the logistics: Tracey McCants Lewis, the team’s director of human resources, and Delvina Morrow, its director of community initiatives.

Kim Davis, an N.H.L. executive responsible for social impact initiatives who is black, had already been scheduled to join the conference, but Hess reached out by email to ask if she would specifically address the Miller incident.

On the call, Davis called the act “deplorable” and personal and used a profanity to emphasize her point, according to multiple participants. She also applauded the statements from the Rangers and the N.H.L. and insisted that such racist language could never come from a hockey fan. The N.H.L. declined to make Davis available for comment for this article.

“I wish her voice was heard when the N.H.L. put out their statement,” Farias said, “because it just said our fans don’t do that. And I’m like, way to dismiss all the harassment minorities get from your fans.”

After Davis spoke, Black Girl Hockey Club resumed its scheduled program for the 60 participants who had joined from as far away as Kenya. Sarah Nurse, a Canadian Olympic player who is black, spoke. So did Anya Packer, who is the executive director of the players association for the National Women’s Hockey League and who identifies as a lesbian. A Pittsburgh D.J. provided entertainment for the virtual after-party.

McCants Lewis said she hoped to use the Miller incident and the Black Girl Hockey Club event that followed as a road map for facilitating conversations. The Penguins placed a moratorium on all Zoom conferences and advised staff members to participate only in phone calls, or in video conferences on their internal system. The Rangers have since deactivated all conference chat functions and will pre-record question and answer sessions with players and then post them on social media. The team declined to comment for this article.


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