In this episode of racism in hockey, a young Black player in upstate New York is bombarded by monkey sounds and chants by the opposing team in an under 18 hockey league.
According to WGRZ, racist chants and expletives were hurled at Roshaun Brown-Hall during a game between Amherst and Cheektowaga. In the MOHL 18U game, which took place on Sunday, January 20, 2019 at Northtown Center in Amherst, racists could be heard making money noises and chants clearly directed at Roshaun, the only Black player on the ice.
In the video, which you can watch here, Roshaun and his Amherst teammates can be seen talking to the referees while the racist venom is being spewed. The refs took no action in response to the cowardly, blatantly racist taunting from the Cheektowaga players.
One player took the chanting to another level, actually yelling “F* you monkey” as Brown-Hall and his Amherst teammates complained to the referees about their opponent’s actions.
Roshaun’s father, Dr. Brown-Hall, was obviously upset when he spoke with WGRZ about it.
“They were making monkey motions and money noises and, you know, saying the word ‘monkey’, and it was directed at my son, Roshaun.” said the furious father.
When asked about the incident, the refs stated they didn’t hear the chants so they took no action. This was reflected in the game’s scorecard as it contained no notation the offending team’s actions.
After the game, Dr. Brown-Hall wrote a letter to the Western New York Amateur Hockey League (WNYAHL). Janice Cavaretta, the Executive Director of the League, responded to his letter stating:
“The WNYAHL does not condone any actions that are hateful, hurtful or discriminatory in nature.”
“There is no place in our game for those hurtful words and damaging actions.”
The matter was then referred to David Braunstein, the West Section President of the state amateur hockey association (NYSAHA). Braunstein stated that didn’t receive the letter of complaint until February 23rd, even though WGRZ reports that he was copied on an email response on February 8th. As a result, he said that the investigation would not completed in time for the scheduled playoffs, which was supposed to be this weekend.
Unfortunately, that playoff game, which, ironically, featured a match-up of the two teams again, was cancelled because the pending investigation had not been concluded in time.
As expected, Dr. Brown-Hall was frustrated in the decision to cancel the game, as it unfairly punished the Amherst team and did nothing to properly punish the racist Cheektowaga players. Worst of all, we once again witness a Black hockey player being subjected to not only racism, but also to unwanted attention that he was not seeking. And although his teammates had his back, it’s both sad and infuriating that he had to endure this humiliating and angering experience.
This is yet another example of how the sport of hockey is plagued by racism, the level of play making no difference in the ignorance displayed either.
Hopefully once the investigation is completed, proper punitive action will be taken, but we’ve seen how that story can play out.
So, unfortunately, this is not the first, nor will it be the last, time that we will have to report on racism in hockey.
You can watch the full story from WGRZ below: