Boston, how far you have fallen. After the Bruins were defeated in a Stanley Cup playoff series game on Thursday the Twitterverse lit up with racism. From the Boston fans. Because the Canadiens player P.K. Subban has dark skin. His parents moved from the Caribbean to Canada decades ago. P.K. was born in Canada.
Boston has a proud history of racial equality and a shameful history of racism. The response to this week's events by the NHL is positive yet weak. Hoping there will be change, labeling racists as racist, classless, and ignorant is an important step. The next step requires action. What will the Bruins actually do now? What can they do?
They can contribute directly to educational programs in Boston city schools. They can work with the other major sports teams, the Red Sox and the Patriots to develop school programs for all of Massachusetts' schools, public and private, preschool through university level teaching the history of racism in sports. Only then will their words have meaning.
“I share the thoughts of Cam and the organization. It’s just poor judgment, poor taste, and we don’t associate ourselves with people like that,” Bruins coach Claude Julien said. “People who act that way are not what we call our fans. They may think they are, but we certainly don’t support that. It’s a shame that this is still going around in this day and age that people are still thinking that way. For us, it’s a shame. As I mentioned, it’s certainly not getting our support on that one.”
Boston left winger Milan Lucic also commented:
‘It's very, very disappointing to hear that,’ he said. ‘It's really sad that people do something like that… To criticize someone about something that has nothing to do with hockey on an issue like that is very ignorant and stupid if you asked me."
A good beginning. Only a beginning.