In Depth: How racism affects hockey culture
Even in 2020, racism persists in hockey. This week on TSN In Depth, San Jose Sharks forward Evander Kane and North York Rangers AAA U18 forward Myles Douglas joined Rick Westhead and Mark Masters to discuss.
Here is an excerpt from their discussion:
Rick Westhead: Through the course of your season (Myles Douglas), how often were you the target of racist abuse?
Myles Douglas: I’d probably say half of the games someone said something. More happened when I was in corners, maybe I rubbed someone away and they didn’t like it or I hit someone and they get angry and they call me names. I couldn’t really do anything or else I get kicked out too.
Westhead: What would your reaction be in the moment?
Douglas: I really wouldn’t do much. I’d look at them like ‘wow, you really just said that’, but I wouldn’t say anything to them and I would just skate away knowing I’ve got the number and I’ll just see them in the corner later and I’ll hit them and end it right there.
Mark Masters: What are guys saying? What is the nature of the abuse, if you don’t mind?
Douglas: I would just get called the N-word in corners or ‘you shouldn’t be here’, stuff like that.
Westhead: Would anyone ever hear moments like this?
Douglas: No one ever really heard anything and they can’t do anything unless they hear the person say that, so there’s no real point in me telling a ref or anything.
Westhead: What about telling your coaches?
Douglas: My coaches? I really felt like there was nothing they could do either. They’ll tell the refs to watch it, I’ve done it before, but the kids will just say it behind the backs of the refs where they can’t hear them or in the corner where no one can hear anything except the players, because they’re head to head. So I didn’t really say much to the coaches or refs.
Westhead: Evander, what do you think listening to that?
Evander Kane: I’m not surprised. It’s something that people don’t want to admit happens today, they want to turn a blind eye, they want to pull the curtain to cover it up. I greatly appreciate him being able to share that story at his age and not being afraid to speak up. One of the disappointing things listening to Myles talk is, he feels that even his own coaches, who probably would take it seriously and have his back I’m assuming, wouldn’t be able to actually do anything about those types of comments being made, whether they hear them or not. We don’t just make these things up.
It’s disappointing to hear that he feels that there’s not much that can be done, I feel and have felt the same way as well. It actually happened to me in Colorado in the playoffs. A fan was yelling some different types of slurs towards me and I told the ref and nothing was done. I understand it, I’ve been on the receiving end of it and I know a lot of players that look like me and him have been.