PK Subban sends powerful message against racism

New Jersey Devils defenseman PK Subban condemned the “distasteful” racist incident against his brother over the weekend, saying he’s “embarrassed” for the game.

Subban made the comments late Sunday night in the aftermath of Saturday’s incident involving Jordan Subban in an East Coast Hockey League game. The ECHL suspended Jacksonville Icemen defenseman Jacob Panetta for lobbing a racist taunt toward the younger Subban. The Icemen subsequently released Panetta.

“I didn’t sleep much,” PK Subban said. “Obviously I had a conversation with my family … sheer disappointment. It’s distasteful. There’s no room for it in our game. I’m embarrassed because our game is better than this. What I think about is all the great people and the great things about our game that I love.

“The unfortunate thing isn’t just the incident; the unfortunate thing is how many kids deal with this every day and it doesn’t come to light,” Subban added. “A lot of people talk about me on social media and what I do in my time, but I’ve done a lot of work in the community. … And in this case, without that following, without that platform, am I standing here right now? Is ESPN talking about it? Is everyone outside of the hockey world talking about it? Probably not, so that’s the unfortunate thing.”

Subban’s have dealt with racial issues

pk subban
Jan 8, 2022; Columbus, Ohio, USA; New Jersey Devils defenseman P.K. Subban (76) skates during warmups prior to the game against the Columbus Blue Jackets at Nationwide Arena. Mandatory Credit: Aaron Doster-USA TODAY Sports

Jordan Subban plays for the South Carolina Stingrays, who played the Icemen on Saturday. The incident occurred in overtime during a skirmish. Jordan Subban said he engaged Panetta to fight but was met with a racist taunt instead.

“As soon as I began to turn my back, he started making monkey gestures at me, so I punched him in the face multiple times and he turtled like the coward he is,” Jordan Subban tweeted.

Subban and Panetta received major penalties and game misconducts and were ejected for the fight.

Panetta posted a video to Twitter on Sunday night to apologize for his actions, which he said were not “racially motivated.” Instead, Panetta said his taunt was “a tough-guy bodybuilder-like gesture toward him” that he’s done toward other players. He said there’s video of him doing it to other players.

“You’re only tough when the refs get involved,” Panetta said he told Jordan Subban during the skirmish.

“My actions toward Jordan were not because of race, and were not intended as a racial gesture,” Panetta said. “I did not contemplate at the time that it would be received as a racial gesture, and I attempted to convey this to Jordan when we were sent to the dressing room during the game.

“I see now from Jordan’s reaction that he and others certainly viewed it as a racial gesture, and that my actions have caused a great deal of anger … I want to express to everyone, especially Jordan, that my actions were not racially motivated at all, and I sincerely apologize for the pain and suffering and anger that my actions have caused him, his family and everyone who has been hurt by this.”

PK Subban said he and his brothers — including Buffalo Sabres goalie Malcolm Subban — are used to dealing with racist incidents.

“We don’t need anyone’s pity. No one felt sorry for us when we went through our experiences growing up,” PK Subban said. “We don’t expect anyone to feel sorry, and we don’t expect anyone to really understand that isn’t Black. If you’re not Black, you’re not going to understand this, and that’s OK.”

PK Subban’s full interview is powerful and a must watch.

–Field Level Media