Joel Ward of the Washington Capital scored every hockey player's dream goal last night: a Game 7 overtime winner that knocked the defending champ Boston Bruins out of the playoffs. The only hitch is that Ward is a black player in what has long been a white man's league, and by the time the Capitals were flying home, Twitter had been flooded with racist slurs, reports USA Today. A teammate brought them to Ward's attention mid-flight and apologized that people were talking about his race and not his goal.
"It doesn't faze me at all," Ward tells the newspaper. "We won, and we are moving on. … People are going to say what they want to say." Teammates weren't as forgiving, and the league issued a statement calling the comments "ignorant and unacceptable." That's fine, writes Clinton Yates at the Root blog of the Washington Post, but the league must do way more to confront racism. "The NHL needs to consider a plan more akin to how Major League Baseball treats its history of Negro league and Latin American players," writes Yates. "Own it, respect it and celebrate it. Maybe then the people who keep their league alive will understand that racism isn’t okay, under any circumstances."