After the Washington Capitals' Joel Ward scored the series-clinching overtime goal against the Boston Bruins in the Stanley Cup playoffs, pockets of Twitter exploded with racist messages directed at Ward, a Canadian whose parents are from Barbados.
Chirpstory, a website that compiles trending topics and conversations, listed many of the offensive tweets, many of which came from Bruins fans.
The fact that a nigger got the goal makes it ten times worse #gobacktoafrica
— Kevin Hall (@Khall1013) April 26, 2012
stupid nigger go play basketball hockey is a white sport
— Zack Vanasse (@zvanasse30) April 26, 2012
— Mike Spiewak (@Spee_Durr) April 26, 2012
In a strange bit of irony, the Bruins were the first team in the National Hockey League to employ a black player.
Earlier this season, Krys Barch of the Florida Panthers was ejected from a game for using a racial slur against P.K. Subban, a Canadian whose parents hail from Jamaica. Last year, Wayne Simmons of the Philadelphia Flyers had a banana peel thrown at him by a fan.
"When you're a black man playing in a predominantly white man's sport, you've got to come to expect things like that," Simmonds said at the time. "Over the past 23 years of my life, I've come to expect some things like that. But I'm older and more mature now, I kind of just left things roll off [my back]. I try not to think about stuff like that."