Though my home team made the playoffs, I didn’t care. I’m all for the morale boost fans get from winning. Hockey just isn’t my thing. What’s more important to me is how fans conduct themselves, win or lose.
After the Bruins’ overtime loss to the Capitals last night, some Bruins fans failed in the class department. They gave a black eye to the team and the vast majority of fans who handle defeat gracefully.
This CTVNews article explains:
Boston Bruins fans are reeling after a stunning overtime loss in Game 7 Wednesday night, but others are reeling from the racist backlash that erupted over Twitter after the Washington Capitals’ Joel Ward scored the winning goal.
Ward, a Canadian whose parents emigrated from Barbados, scored the game-winner over last year’s Stanley Cup champions at 2:57 into overtime on a rebound from a shot by Mike Knuble, to make the final score 2-1 for Washington.
The TD Garden arena in Boston instantly fell into a shocked silence as fans’ hopes of back-to-back Bruins appearances in the Stanley Cup final evaporated.
But the volume was just starting to build on Twitter, where incensed fans began launching personal attacks on Ward, not over his playing ability but over the colour of his skin.
“The fact that a n***** scored the winner goal makes this loss hurt a lot more,” tweeted someone with the handle @tomtroy12.
Another wrote: “Stupid n***** go play basketball hockey is a white sport.”
Those were just two relatively tame examples in a long list of racist posts that appeared on Twitter following the game, though many were removed by Thursday morning and some of the offending accounts appeared to have been deleted altogether.
Indulge me as I share this quote from one of Chris Rock’s “Nat X” skits on SNL. It’s humor, but the idiots who wrote the tweets above demonstrated how dark comedy and painful reality are often separated by a pathetically thin line:
NAT X: I was watchin’ a hockey game and I noticed there were no black people. So I looked into this example of the white man once again keepin’ the black man down and found out why there were no black people in hockey. First, it’s cold out there! Second, we might get our gold teeth knocked out! Third, we have no desire to dominate another professional sport. And, finally, no brother is going to go anywhere there is a bunch of crazy white people wearin’ masks and carryin’ sticks!
What’s the racist Twitter rant between disappointed Bruins fans have to do with the theme of this blog? Quite a bit. One of the main themes is how we humans handle adversity. What are the examples of adversity making us better or worse? This post is an example of the latter. It stinks all the more because in this case we’re not talking about life-or-death adversity. This is over a fucking game.
As one of my Canadian friends, Dave Lewis, tweeted: “Stay classy. Wow, just wow.”
I’m not going to tell you I’m ashamed to be a Boston sports fan this morning. My lack of sports savvy alone prevents me from doing that.
But I’m also not ashamed because these turds don’t represent the vast majority of Boston sports fans, who usually acknowledge that the other team did better and deserved good wishes.
These tweeters are probably not even genuine racists. But as I said about the folks who were selling and buying anti-Obama “Do not re-nig” bumper stickers: You may not be a racist, but using the N word says something about the kind of person you are.
Like I said, I’m no hockey fan. But it still inspires me when a sports team does well. It takes someone like me — who can’t play sports to save my life — to appreciate the grit and determination it takes to play professionally.
Which makes it all the more disappointing when a fan or five repays the hard effort their team gave by being assholes.