Five Gloucester High School students were suspended from athletic programs and would be forced to forfeit any leadership positions they held in extracurricular activities because of racist tweets they posted that were directed at a black player on the Washington Capitals, according to The Gloucester Times.
After what should’ve been the most celebrated goal of a fantastic NHL playoff series, Boston fans took to social media outlets to use racist tweets to attack Joel Ward, game seven’s hero in the series between the Washington Capitals and the Boston Bruins. Ward is one of the leagues few black players, and racist tweets—which included the n-word—seemed determined to let him know that he was not welcome on the ice.
While policing the Internet is generally an effort in futility, the school district of Gloucester, MA, seemed equally determined to let their students know that racially charged remarks are not acceptable, regardless of the forum. The district conducted an investigation that uncovered the racist tweets aimed against Ward posted by Gloucester students.
Gloucester Superintendent of Schools Richard Safier told the Times, “The racial epithets expressed were compounded by their publication on a national sports website. We take this issue seriously. Such misconduct contradicts the values and standards of Gloucester High School and the Gloucester Public Schools as a whole.”
It’s amazing that the superintendent in a small fishing city can take a stronger stance against racism than the NHL’s own commissioner, Gary Bettman. Bettman has yet to make a statement following the goal and subsequent tweets on April 25.