Racist remarks directed toward Montreal Canadiens defenseman P.K. Subban flooded social media following his game-winning goal against the Boston Bruins in a 4-3 double overtime victory Thursday night, but Bruins players and representatives are taking a stand against them.
Subban, who is black, netted two goals in Game 1 of the Eastern Conference Semifinals, including the game-winner on the power play early in the second overtime. Bruins fans were understandably upset, but some of them reacted in an unacceptable fashion.
Racist tweets were so prevalent following Subban's goal that a racial slur even trended on Twitter in the Boston area, according to CBC News.
The Bruins want their fans to be supportive of the team, but club president Cam Neely admonished those who made racist comments, per a statement released on Bruins.com.
"The racist, classless views expressed by an ignorant group of individuals following Thursday's game via digital media are in no way a reflection of anyone associated with the Bruins organization," Neely said.
However, Harrison Mooney of Yahoo Sports wonders how much meaning Neely's comments have:
The problem, of course, is that Neely's partially incorrect. These fans are associated with the Bruins organization. They may not work for it, but they cheer for it, and they contribute to its reputation outside of Boston, fairly or unfairly in much the same way the folks behind Vancouver's second Stanley Cup riot gave Vancouver a reputation for rioting. A pattern is emerging.
Neely wasn't the only person from the Bruins organization to speak out following the game. Captain and superstar defenseman Zdeno Chara expressed disappointment in the fact that some fans reacted in such an unsavory manner, according to Renaud Lavoie of TVA Sports:
Respected forward Patrice Bergeron also chimed in by calling the tweets "classless," per Joe McDonald of ESPNBoston.com:
Bergeron calls those racist remarks on twitter "classless" and "there's no room for that in 2014."— Joe McDonald (@ESPNJoeyMac) May 2, 2014
Canadiens coach Michel Therrien will meet with Subban about the tweets today, according to Chris Johnston of Rogers Sportsnet:
Michel Therrien will sit down with P.K. Subban tonight. "Nobody deserves to be treated like this. ... I'm shocked."— Chris Johnston (@reporterchris) May 2, 2014
There has long been bad blood between the Bruins and Habs as well as their fanbases. They are both Original Six NHL teams that have had many battles over the years. However, that is no excuse for the inhumane shots taken in the aftermath of Game 1.
Subban has yet to comment on the situation, so it is unclear how it has impacted him, but all he can do is continue to produce on the ice.
The best way for him to get some form of vengeance against those who made racist comments is to lead the Canadiens to an upset over the Presidents' Trophy-winning Bruins.
There is no question that the Habs have the talent necessary to knock off the No. 1 overall seed in the playoffs, and they already have the upper hand after Subban's Game 1 heroics.
It can't be easy for Subban to ignore some of the awful things that have been said about him, but by looking past them and focusing on the task at hand, he can prove he is the bigger and better person.
Follow @MikeChiari on Twitter