An investigation has been launched after a young athlete in Massachusetts allegedly sent a photo featuring people in Ku Klux Klan hoods and robes to a team group chat that included one Black player.
WCVB-TV reported that Laquan Mongo claimed one of his teammates, who was not identified, sent the photo to the group chat after a game on Sunday, Sept. 19. The 12-year-old, who plays for Crimson Hockey Club East, told the outlet he was shaken by the image. Crimson Hockey Club is a division of the Eastern Hockey Federation, a youth hockey league in New England.
“I felt scared and sad because I’m the only Black kid on the team,” he told the outlet. His mother, Natasha Lassiter, said she was brought to tears. “I was mortified because he’s a kid and the other kid’s a kid. They’re kids. They’re just kids. They don’t deserve any of this.”
In a statement to the outlet, David Turk, the federation’s commissioner of business operations, said, “As a league, we have a zero-tolerance policy for this type of behavior.” He later revealed that the player who sent the image was released from the hockey club and the league.
“We are not investigating the incident, as per USA Hockey rules. The Crimson Hockey club passed along the information to the U.S. Center for SafeSport and USA Hockey National Office to investigate the incident,” he further later told Newsweek. “The league will follow whatever decision they come to,” he added.
The incident echoed a Connecticut incident last May, during which a white student from Fairfield Warde High School created a racist post targeting his Black classmate and shared it on Snapchat.
The image featured 10th grader Jamar Medor with a red circle around him with two captions that read: “Why is there a n—er in my homeroom?” and “Why is he not in chains?” At the time, Medor told reporters he had only become aware of the photo after a fellow classmate brought it to his attention.
The white student, who was not identified, was arrested and later charged with breach of peace, and “ridicule on account of creed, religion, color, denomination, nationality or race,” a misdemeanor specific to Connecticut.