Bruins, Habs condemn racist remarks about Subban

 

 
 
 
 
Canadiens defenceman P.K. Subban celebrates his winning power-play goal Thursday night. One media monitoring company said 17,000 tweets were sent with Subban’s name and a racist hashtag after the game.
 

Canadiens defenceman P.K. Subban celebrates his winning power-play goal Thursday night. One media monitoring company said 17,000 tweets were sent with Subban’s name and a racist hashtag after the game.

Photograph by: Jared Wickerham, Getty Images

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BOSTON - The Canadiens and Bruins often clash on the ice, but they were united Friday in condemning racist remarks on Twitter aimed at P.K. Subban.

The comments popped up on Twitter Thursday evening during Game 1 of the second-round playoff series between the two teams.

Subban scored twice in the Canadiens’ 4-3 victory, including the game-winning goal in double overtime. The 24-year-old, who won the Norris Trophy last season as the NHL’s top defenceman, was selected as the game’s first star.

The Bruins released a brief statement from team president Cam Neely on Friday, denouncing the remarks.

“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.

Bruins captain Zdeno Chara and others on the team were quoted by media on Friday denouncing the racist comments. Subban’s teammates and coach also spoke out against them.

Canadiens coach Michel Therrien said he was shocked to hear those types of comments.

“There’s no one who (deserves) to be treated like this,” Therrien said. “No matter what, if you’re a professional athlete, no one deserves to be treated like this. And P.K. has all our support.”

Therrien said he had just learned of the remarks and hadn’t had a chance to speak to Subban yet.

“I’m certainly going to sit down with him and talk to him tonight,” the coach said. “But he’s got all our support.”

Subban is doing a great job of just shaking it off, said teammate Brendan Gallagher.

“And I commend him for that,” Gallagher added.

“It’s not something that you really want anyone to go through. He’s had to deal with it a couple of times now. He handles it really well. He understands that those are opinions of people that don’t matter. It’s something that he doesn’t care about. He goes on with his life and doesn’t let it affect him. He’s very strong in handling it in that way.

“It doesn’t represent the National Hockey League in any way,” Gallagher added.

“We have great fans supporting us. I think that was just a very small group of people, but obviously something that you don’t want to see ever again.”

It’s unclear how many racist remarks were posted on Twitter.

Influence Communication, a Montreal-based media monitoring company, observed 17,000 tweets with Subban’s last name and a racist hashtag.

However, Eve Couture, an analysis director with the company, had the impression that the majority were defending Subban and re-tweeting the comments or using the same hashtag.

When Couture did research most of what she read — three out of four comments — defended Subban, Couture said.

They noticed racist tweets after Subban scored his first goal and after that many people retweeted them to defend Subban, she said.

When the Canadiens won Thursday’s game, water bottles and towels were tossed onto the ice by Boston fans.

Asked if the players were hit by any debris, David Desharnais said: “Yeah, but we just got off the ice pretty quick.”

Mike Weaver said they were escorted off the ice fairly fast.

“Again, that has nothing to do with the Boston organization,” Weaver said. “It’s unfortunate that that happened. (It’s) not really going to bother us.”

Thomas Vanek, acquired by the Canadiens at the March trade deadline, said the team is there to support Subban.

“He’s a smart young man, he doesn’t deserve that,” Vanek said. “It’s very inappropriate, but it will make him stronger.”

Vanek said he knew how good Subban was on the ice, but when he was traded to Montreal and got to know Subban as a person, he “learned a lot about how great he is and how good he handles stuff like that.”

“It’s easy for us to sit here and say it’s inappropriate and this and that, but the way he carries himself and still brings his game is quite amazing what he’s doing,” Vanek said.

bbranswell@montrealgazette.com

Twitter: bbranswell

 
 
 
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Canadiens defenceman P.K. Subban celebrates his winning power-play goal Thursday night. One media monitoring company said 17,000 tweets were sent with Subban’s name and a racist hashtag after the game.
 

Canadiens defenceman P.K. Subban celebrates his winning power-play goal Thursday night. One media monitoring company said 17,000 tweets were sent with Subban’s name and a racist hashtag after the game.

Photograph by: Jared Wickerham, Getty Images

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
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