Racism is a subject fraught with peril. Ignore it, and it lurks and festers in dark corners of the Internet and beyond. LeBron James, the world’s best basketball player, receives a stream of constant racism on Twitter. (warning: vulgar language after the link). Just about every black athlete does, especially if he or she is any good. James ignores it, so we do, too. It’s hard to imagine the average person having such a thick skin.
Racism is easy to ignore, but it may be harder to talk about. After the Montreal Canadiens defeated the Boston Bruins, 4-3, Thursday night, several fans took to Twitter and hurled racist epithets at Montreal’s P.K. Subban. Subban is black. He’s also the team’s best player, and his goal in double-overtime was the game-winner. Bruins fans were understandably angry at the result, but that doesn’t give anyone, even a vocal minority, the right to say what those fans said.
Choosing to talk about overt racism is a good thing, but one result of outing racist individuals is painting the group from which they come with the same brush. These Bruins fans are racist. Bruins fans are racist. Boston is racist. If you choose to make that leap, you don’t have to go very far.
Many Boston fans expressed their disagreement with the characterization that their city is racist and apologized to Subban for the actions of others in the comments below the initial Subban story, which at the time of this posted numbered 211. Here’s a selective sampling:
— AllAroundFan17 MAY 02, 2014 — 12:51 PM
I am mortified as a Boston fan and a human being having read those messages- it is appalling that not only are there people who still think this way, but that they have the audacity to post these thoughts- Please P.K. Subban- do not think that this is representative of our fan base- I am sorry that you had to encounter any of this
— BCush2 MAY 02, 2014 — 12:40 PM
Why is this even a story? You’re giving these racist pigs credibility by even showing stuff like this. It’s not like this is from the majority of fans, it’s from a select few morons.
— SacredFire MAY 02, 2014 — 01:03 PM
If it is not addressed, that makes it seem as if it is condoned. If you call it out, most of them will hopefully crawl back into the woodwork. Classy move by Cam Neely. Even in defeat, racism has no place in sports or anywhere for that matter. Sadly, over the last couple of weeks, we’ve seen that it is very much alive…
— jamalh MAY 02, 2014 — 12:50 PM
Cowards! Say it to his face or better yet put your personal information behind your personal beliefs sot the world can see who you really are. If you believe what you say as the truth, then don’t hide! Better yet come to Roxbury or place that is predominately “black” and speak your peace. This is getting old and tired. Why can’t he just be judge for what his actions. He is bad-ass player, who got the better of the Bruins. The only way to win is to WIN. Talking trash is not going to change the outcome unless you have some special abilities.
I’m sorry but I am tired of people using race as a means to belittle people. If you are going to judge someone, then make sure it is based on his/her character not caricature. Coward.
— pdhotz MAY 02, 2014 — 12:54 PM
As a Bostonian and a Bruins fan, this is downright Embarrassing. Come on people
–– Cheezfan1 MAY 02, 2014 — 01:01 PM
Bunch of idiots. And, by the way, for those Boston “fans” who would do this, you presumably are aware that Subban’s brother is in the Bruins organization?!
— 970AD MAY 02, 2014 — 01:03 PM
True Bruins fans would welcome PK with open arms if he were ever to dress in the spoked B. It’s easy to dislike an opponent who readily carries their team to beat your favored team. It’s downright cowardly and useless to be an ignoramus spewing hatred about a player or team you don’t care for. Jealous losers who would never make it in the peewee league.
— trueendurance MAY 02, 2014 — 01:04 PM
It’s time for Boston to decide whether it is going to be a “City on the Hill”, or a dark corner of the abyss…. To decide if it going to be an international destination, or some dingy backwater… To decide if it is going to be enlightened, or forever lost in its tribal behavior and clannishness.
Racist comments show the rest of the world that many in Boston still think with their animal instincts… and it’s a shame really, because so many here have warm and wonderful hearts… and are open to all… and to change.