Support and suspensions given after “F* you monkey!” incident.
Over the weekend we told you about the Black teen hockey player from upstate New York who was targeted by racist monkey chants during a game.
In a MOHL 18U game between Amherst and Cheektowaga on January 20th, 2019, Roshaun Brown-Hall, the only Black player on the ice, was subjected to racist venom from players on the opposing team during a game between Amherst and Cheektowaga. In the infuriating video, you can clearly hear the racism from players on the Cheektowaga team.
After complaining to the referees about it, nothing was done as the refs claimed that they didn’t hear the racist chants. In response, Roshaun’s father, Dr. Brown-Hall, wrote a letter to the Western New York Amateur Hockey League (WNYAHL). The League condemned the actions and then the matter was referred to David Braunstein, the West Section President of the state amateur hockey association (NYSAHA). While his office was investigating, the playoff game between the two teams, which was to have occurred this past weekend, was cancelled, further punishing the innocent Brown-Hall and his teammates.
The incident has drawn more lots of attention, inciting reactions of both support and punishment.
David Braunstein, who had been the West Section President of the association for almost twenty years, has stepped down. Two players and an assistant coach from the Cheektowaga Warriors team have been suspended by the local hockey organization. But neither the WNYAHL or the NYSAHA have taken action as of yet, leading to frustration and remorse.
“I’m personally sorry that this happened,” said Cheektowaga head coach Ken Phillips, who wasn’t at the game in question. “We don’t condone any type of disrespectful behavior, especially this.”
According to WGRZ, “the suspended players apologized during a private team meeting and were prepared to do the same to the Amherst players and specifically Roshaun Brown-Hall, at whom the slurs were directed, as part of their league discipline.”
This has been an embarrassing situation for all involved, including the town of Cheektowaga, who issued a statement through town councilman Brian Pilarski.
“The monkey sounds and comments towards an African American player of the Amherst hockey team are disturbing, unacceptable, and are completely at odds with who we are as a Town.
There is zero tolerance for anything like those actions described. Cheektowaga remains committed to ensuring that all youth thrive in an environment where they feel safe, welcomed and respected.
We can confirm that the two players and the assistant coach are suspended the rest of the season.
We assure our residents, the Amherst hockey team and others that timely and appropriate steps were taken by the Town of Cheektowaga Recreation Department to address this situation in accordance with the policies outlined in our partnership with the Western New York Amateur Hockey League.
This situation will continue to be investigated by the Western New York Amateur Hockey League and Town of Cheektowaga so we can hold anyone else involved accountable for their actions and prevent this from happening again in the future. Further action may come after a full investigation by both the Town of Cheektowaga and Western New York Amateur Hockey League is completed.”
While the situation is far from over, it’s good to see that some action has been taken and that the situation is not being taken lightly.
“Our intent was to make sure action was taken in that this won’t occur again, make sure that there are processes and procedures set up so that a thorough investigation can take place,” said Dr. Brown-Hall.
Support from all over
Roshaun has been receiving support from his family, teammates, friends and fans after the incident. Now professional hockey has extended their hand in support in the form of the Flyers’ Justin Bailey.
Bailey, who played for the Amherst Knights when he was younger, knows exactly what Roshaun was going through as he had similar experiences.
“When I saw the story, it brought back a couple of memories of altercations I had,” said Bailey to WGRZ. “I don’t think I had anything to that magnitude, but just knowing how crappy that felt back in the day.”
Bailey, who is the son of former Buffalo Bills’ linebacker Carlton Bailey, grew up outside of Buffalo and recognizes the presence of racism in hockey.
“It’s a sport that’s growing with all ethnicities,” said Bailey. “It’s great to see more and different ethnicities that are playing the game and I think something like that would be, you know, discouraging, terrible for a young kid to ever have to worry about.
“You know pro hockey, it’s been all cleaned up. I know there’s suspensions for saying things to European players, there are suspensions for speaking that way to your African-American players. There’s a lot of rules in place.”
Bailey is scheduled to speak with Roshaun on Tuesday, providing the teen with additional support in this trying time.
“I’ll give him some positive words, how I coped with things, how I did it,” Bailey said. “Like I said, I never had anything anywhere close to what happened to him, but there’s definitely experiences in my life that I can give to him. Hopefully help him get through this tough time.”
Roshaun was, obviously, upset over the situation. But, as he told WGRZ, he’s thankful for all of the support he’s received.
“I feel loved and I’m grateful for everyone and anyone who is hearing this story and reaching out to me and doing anything to help this out.”