Take One: Let’s Be Better Humans Than Fans
Editor’s Note: This is the first in a series from Leverett & Clarke, a set of collaborative blog posts and future podcasts from Emily Leverett and Pat Clarke. If you sat in their proximity during games, you will understand why this is coming together.
They both see and read the flow of the hockey game in a similar way, but have different observations based on where they put their focus. We hope you enjoy. Emily provides the first offering.
I wanted to call this blog the Eye Test because we (Clarke and I) are not not being statsy here. We watch a game and get a feel for it. So, we’re going to pick a thing or two we see at each game and talk about it a bit. Not a comprehensive look at the whole game; not a recap; not a deep dive into the numbers. Just a passing glance.
So I figure the best way to start a blog is to ease into it with some non-controversial statements.
Instead, I’m going to start out the new blog with this: there was some seriously racist behavior by a handful of people at PNC on Sunday afternoon.
(Because this is the internet, I’ll add now: if you were not at PNC on Sunday, or you were at PNC and were not behaving like a racist, good for you. This is not about you, until the end, when it is about all of us Canes fans.)
If one moment (or, okay, a series of moments) stood out to me at the last of the Carolina Hurricanes’ preseason games, it was the booing of PK Subban.
Now, let’s be clear. Subban can be quite the pest, and he was in great form Sunday afternoon. He punched Aho in the chest. He and Ferland exchanged words that, apparently, increased at least one pretty eloquent fellow’s vocabulary.
He is also one of the best players in the league right now, likely destined to go down as one of the best players ever, and an extraordinary human being.
Booing an opposing team member is fine, even part of the fun of going to games. Though Clarke will point out that booing an opposing player every time they touch the puck is a high form of praise, too. If you were booing because Subban ticked you off, or just for the fun of it, that’s fine.
But not everyone was participating in cheerful booing. Some of it was much, much uglier. It was accompanied other less savory vocalizations and gestures. And those other actions? Totally racist. If you weren’t doing it yourself, good. If you were appalled and/or did something about it, even better.
A couple years ago, Subban received similar treatment from Boston fans in their playoff series. More recently, last year, a similar incident occured in Chicago with Blackhawks fans and Devante Smith-Pelly of the Capitals. In both instances the teams and the buildings responded by shaming said racist “fans” and booting or banning them.
To the best of my knowledge there was no such response from PNC. That’s unfortunate but unsurprising given the fact that it was an untelevised preseason game. Any fan making racist comments is wrong. It’s unacceptable. Hockey is the most international of our professional sports, and that is something to be proud of. Racism has no place in hockey, and no place around our team or arena.
One of the reasons that it was so easy to become a Canes fans is the welcoming community. There are some amazing Canes fans. PNC needs to reflect that. Always. Most of the Canes fans are good people with great attitudes. We can’t let a handful of bad actors ruin the atmosphere and bring us down.
Canes fans, we have to be better.