This article title “Minor hockey coach suspended after forfeiting game over racial slur uttered against one of his players” is an interesting example that shows racism is clearly present but also that there is hope that people are working to fight against it.
During a minor hockey league game in Canada, two players from opposing teams were sent to the penalty box for a minor penalty. It was here the player from the opposing team, Austin Trophies, called Andrew McCullum from NAPA Auto, one of the two black players on the team, the N-word.
Andrea McCullum stated that the offending player “kept chirping [him] in the box. He was sitting trying to ignore him and the people that were keeping the score came over to me and said he called me the N-word. I felt very angry and upset about it”.
McCullum immediately went to his coach once the penalty was over and told him what was said. The coach, Greg Walsh, then went to the refs and told them “he was going to forfeit the game, if the coach on the opposing team let his player play”. The refs said they “couldn’t do anything about it because they didn’t hear it”.
McCullum’s whole team decided that “they could and would not play” under those conditions and the “collectively left the ice” even though they were winning. As a result of forfeiting the game, Walsh was suspended indefinitely.
To this, Walsh said “I took the penalty. I knew it was coming”.
The offending player was given a three-game suspension. However, we have learned from Johnson incidents like these still affect the victim and that suspension will not help McCullum forget the hurt that he felt at the players racial slurs. Roberts, the mother of McCullum, says the suspension is “absolutely ridiculous and that Greg was standing up for a purpose, it’s just wrong”. I agree with Roberts, how could the board even think it was reasonable to suspend Greg Walsh for standing up against racism.
The Peterborough Minor Hockey Association told McCullum’s mother that “it will be looking at implement a new racism policy in the way of the incident”. Still, McCullum’s mother was proud of her son for speaking out.
I find it admirable that Andrew McCullum spoke out as well, as we know how hard it is for those who are the victims of racism to stand up for themselves. Unfortunately, this wasn’t the first time McCullum had to go through something like this but his whole team stood up for him and the subject is drawing attention to the fact that racism is clearly still prevalent. Hopefully, this story will inspire others, whether in sports or any other situation, that collectively and as a unit racism can be defeated. It’s clear that it will not be immediate but any small step will help.
On another interesting note, McCullum’s sister started a Facebook group called “Racism has No Place in Sports”. This is a good start, but I still find it upsetting that it needed to be created in the first place. I actually looked at the group and so far there are 676 people who have joined. Seeing the support of people and reading the comments made the issue of racism even more real to me simply because this happened so recently in an everyday scenario like a sports game.
Despite how awful it is that McCullum had to go through what he did, I hope this incident will awaken people to the fact that racism is still very much present in society. If people can stand up to racism the way McCullum’s whole team did, maybe one day, we can erase it from the world.