Blackhawks sound off on fans’ racist taunts: ‘Totally unacceptable’

CHICAGO - Not shocked, but very disappointed.

That was Anthony Duclair's reaction to Saturday's incident at the United Center, where four fans were kicked out of the arena for chanting "basketball, basketball, basketball" at Capitals winger Devante Smith-Pelly.

Both Smith-Pelly and Duclair are black and no strangers to racist taunts.

"You don't really have a voice when you're younger so you sort of brush it off. Don't tell anyone just keep it to yourself," explained Duclair. "I bet every black hockey player has been through this. I don't know every one of them personally, but I can definitely speak for them and say that everyone's been through that - some sort of racism."

"You get called a bunch of names and gestures and stuff like that. Like I said, as a kid you don't really know how to react and you sort of put it under the rug. But, now you do have a voice you want to speak up and make sure it's not okay. Whether it happens to Devante Smith-Pelly or a random guy on the street you should be comfortable in your own skin, gender, nationality, religion or beliefs. Everyone is equal. Everyone should love each other."

Duclair's teammates shared a similar sentiment.

"I think all of us feel there's no place for that in society or at sporting events," remarked Blackhawks winger Patrick Kane. "It's terrible."

"Totally unacceptable in our game, in any sport, in society today," noted Blackhawks head coach Joel Quenneville. "We've got to learn from something like that. Can't happen. I talked to Trotzy yesterday. Apologized to the organization and to the player, 'Devante we're sorry about what happened.' Let's definitely learn from it."

"Obviously, we don't support that kind of behavior," said Blackhawks captain Jonathan Toews. "In this day and age, I think it's time to start moving past that. Realize that we don't want to stoop to those levels to try to instigate or get under anyone's skin. Obviously, it's the wrong way to go about it. I don't think anyone stands behind someone who makes comments like that."