A Black hockey player was on the receiving end of a racist gesture during the second period of a game in the Ukrainian Hockey League on Sunday. HC Kremenchuk forward Andrei Deniskin acted out the motion of peeling and then eating a banana towards American Jalen Smereck, who plays for HC Donbass.
Following the racist act, Deniskin was ejected from the game. Here is a look at what Deniskin did to get ejected (Warning: the video contains racist content).
There is currently a league investigation into why this occurred and Deniskin may face further punishment, according to ESPN. The UHL said the racist taunt “is unacceptable within the framework of a civilized society.”
Deniskin took to social media to apologize, but later deleted the post. ESPN reported that he wrote that his gesture was one “that someone can consider as an insult in race.” He added, “I respect all people regardless of their race or nationality,” claiming that his emotions took over in the moment.
HC Donbass commented on what happened, saying they were outraged by the act and that “racism has no place in sports.”
Smereck, a 24-year-old Detroit native, is in his first season with HC Donbass in Druzhkivka, Ukraine and formerly played in the Arizona Coyotes‘ minor league system. He took to Twitter to thank a supporter and also shared a message for other Black hockey players.