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- A Canadian hockey player cried when he and his family were called "negros" and "baboons" in the middle of a semi-pro match last weekend.
- Jonathan Diaby, a 24-year-old defenseman for Marquis de Jonquiere, said he was abused by fans and his family was also taunted in the crowd.
- Diaby’s father was told to go "back home." People also touched his hair and made fun of him.
- Diaby said his sister and his girlfriend were scared.
- The abuse got so bad that Diaby and his family left the arena early. The referees, Diaby said, did nothing to stop the abuse.
A Canadian hockey player left the ice in the middle of a match because he was subjected to racist abuse from fans in the crowd. It was so bad, he cried.
Jonathan Diaby, a 24-year-old from Blainville in Canada who plays defense for Marquis de Jonquiere says he, his family, and his girlfriend were called "negros" and "baboons" while being taunted by spectators during last weekend’s Ligue Nord-Americaine de Hockey (LNAH) game against Petroliers du Nord.
Diaby said it all began in the first quarter of the February 24 game. At one point, he was shown photographs of a monkey from a hockey fan’s phone, CBC News reports.
"I had to put my jersey over my face because I was like, I had teardrops, you know," Diaby told CBC after the incident. "They started yelling racist stuff at my parents and my sister and myself. Go negro, baboons, a bunch of stuff.
"My dad was told to go back home," Diaby added. "That he had no business in this country. They were touching his hair, making fun of him. My sister was scared, my girlfriend was scared."
Diaby’s coach at the Marquis de Jonquiere, Benoit Gratton, said: "It’s 2019, it’s something we shouldn’t see anymore. I think it’s digusting."
CBC reported that the abuse was so bad that Diaby and his family left the arena before the match could even finish. Referees, he said, did nothing to protect him or his family from the abuse, while security guards reportedly chose not to kick anyone out because "nobody threw any punches."
The incident forced the league itself to issue a grovelling apology.
LNAH commissioner Jean-Francois Laplante told the CBC in French that racist, sexist, and homophobic comments are unacceptable.
The broadcaster added that if the fans who hurled the racist abuse are identified, they will face a ban from LNAH matches.
"This is not hockey… Nobody should feel threatened to go watch his son play a hockey game," Diaby said.
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