Skip to content

Joel Ward on racism in hockey: “It’s a battle I think will always be there”

Apr 28, 2012, 9:57 AM EDT

Tyler Seguin, Joel Ward AP

Reading and hearing about the hateful language thrown Joel Ward‘s way for simply scoring a series-winning goal has been one of the uglier stories of the playoffs. For Ward, it’s something he’s accepted that he’ll have to deal with.

Ward talks about what he’s had to hear about recently but for him, it’s something he’s had to deal with but tries to ignore it all.

“I don’t let it bother me at all,” Ward said as the Capitals returned to practice ahead of tonight’s Game 1 against the New York Rangers in the Eastern Conference semifinals. “It’s a few people that just made a couple of terrible comments, and what can you do? I know what I signed up for. I’m a black guy playing a predominantly white sport. It’s just going to come with the territory. I’d feel naive or foolish to think that it doesn’t exist. It’s a battle I think will always be there.”

It’s sad to see things play out like this in that Ward feels it’s part of the deal to play in the NHL. It shouldn’t have to be that way, but hateful language in the hands (or fingertips in this case) of a pack of ignoramuses makes sure to bring this issue to the forefront.

While Ward has had a tough first season in Washington, perhaps his game-winning goal in Game 7 is what he needed to become the playoff force we remember from last season.

  1. jpelle82 - Apr 28, 2012 at 10:14 AM

    sad. if it was a canadian team that was eliminated, i gaurantee you wouldnt have seen any of the racist garbage but just about any city in america has people in it that wouldve reacted like the boston bigots did.

    • gallyhatch - Apr 28, 2012 at 10:22 AM

      Right, unless it’s Ottawa, and you’re Wayne Simmonds, but otherwise Canada is above the racist bs.

      The racist comments are deplorable, and I hope the people saying them are outed.

    • challer9 - Apr 28, 2012 at 10:23 AM

      You’re kidding right? While the U.S. is probably worse than Canada when it comes to race relations, you’d have to be an idiot to think racism doesn’t exist outside of America.

    • jpelle82 - Apr 28, 2012 at 10:44 AM

      well thats that then. i guess i gave canada more credit than i should have.

    • ray2013 - Apr 28, 2012 at 4:21 PM

      There are segments of every city and society that cling to outdated views. Like the people in this link.

  2. ruffridin - Apr 28, 2012 at 10:33 AM

    Ummmm wrong, just last year someone threw a banana at Simmonds during his breakaway in London, Ontario CANADA. Racism is ignorant and not just in Boston, it’s in my country, Canada, too.

  3. jkay1818 - Apr 28, 2012 at 10:46 AM

    It’s sad, but he’s right. That’s really troubling. Obviously racism exists everywhere but in Boston it’s a difft animal. The ironic thing is, the first black skater played for the bruins. I had to stop reading the tweets directed towards ward it made me so uncomfortable. Growing up in NYC it’s tremendously difficult to be racist, especially since the public schools are so diverse. There are even hockey teams with inner city kids comprised of about 90 percent African Americans and they are damn good players. A ton of my travel teams had black players and more times than not, there weren’t any issues. The sad thing is most of the racial remarks came via playing in tourneys in the new England area. Jewish and black comments galore. He’s def right though, the battle will always be there because there will always be ignorant fans. Plus, the league really can’t take any action. I saw a great special or George laraque and he seemed like a great guy. It was interesting how he became so tough. When he moved to north America he was taunted, abused, called the N word etc and his brother gave him good advice, just beat them up. He worked out, became a monster and just destroyed these kids…..good for him

  4. anthonykornheiser - Apr 28, 2012 at 11:09 AM

    Very true and it isnt just isolated to one ethnicity or race being racist, it is everyone. eg: delmon young a professional athlete who should be leading by example, intoxicated making racist anti semetic comments and throwing a guy down on the floor. i dont understand the protocol with a lot of this, in this case the team/player can be disciplined. assault and a racist comment. its weird because if a white player was wasted and attacked someone of color it would be the biggest sports scandal. unfortunately these fans cant be disciplined in boston.

    • supercoop8 - Apr 28, 2012 at 2:08 PM

      Living a large part of my life around boston and Mass I could describe to you what the people that are making these comments look like, smell like, how they dress, and how they were raised. Certain towns around the state and around the city(quincy im looking at you) are wastelands to any legitimate thought. If you examined their lives you’d see that life has already disciplined them, but don’t get too close because eight of them will fight the one of you.
      Sidenote- DId you see all the tweens tweeting about how a character in the hunger games movie being black “ruined” it for them?? Absolutely bonkers..

    • banshee950 - Apr 28, 2012 at 6:03 PM

      two of the local tweeters have been identified as minors. According to the boston globe, the mother of one of them is making her kid write apology letters to Ward and the Bruins.
      @cowboyscanada, right on, I too hope to see Ward soundly cheered on his next visit to the Garden.

  5. cowboyscanada - Apr 28, 2012 at 11:13 AM

    Its pretty sad! I hope Ward gets a standing ovation next game. There are racist idiots everywhere.

  6. jaybertx - Apr 28, 2012 at 12:07 PM

    I don’t see colors. I see under performing players.

  7. thehighcountrybear - Apr 28, 2012 at 5:15 PM

    Have to agree with Ward…one wonders still, what are his views regarding Delmon Young and racism in Basebal, or the ‘justice for Trayvon’ attacks against whites in Toledo, Baltimore, Chicago and Mobile?

    • supercoop8 - Apr 28, 2012 at 5:32 PM

      One is right, the one and only you.

  8. crazemastercraze - Apr 28, 2012 at 7:23 PM

    as a white american-canadian i find it hilarious/deplorable that if you look at the history of the world the last 500 years or so, you’d find that white people are pretty much responsible for just about ruining everyones good time (e.g. colonization)!!!!

Top 10 NHL Player Searches
  1. P. Kane (1952)
  2. P. Kessel (1623)
  3. M. Richards (1390)
  4. N. Backstrom (1206)
  5. M. Giordano (1176)