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Young Players Defend Black Teammate. NHL Players Notice

Washington Capitals invite youth team to NHL game after incident last month
By John Johnson,  Newser Staff
Posted Jan 10, 2019 9:00 AM CST
Washington Capitals right wing Devante Smith-Pelly skates with the puck during a 2018 game.   (AP Photo/Nick Wass)
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(Newser) – A youth hockey team in Maryland who stood up for a black teammate enduring racial taunts will get a surprise reward. The Washington Capitals are providing 60 tickets to the Metro Maple Leafs to attend a game next week. The gesture follows an incident in December in which Leafs player Divyne Apollon II heard monkey sounds and taunts such as "Go play basketball" from opposing players during a tournament, reports the Washington Post. The two teams wound up fighting at the end of the game on the ice, and 13-year-old DiVyne got suspended for the rest of the tournament. Teammates wore an anti-racism sticker at their next game.

“For me to meet [Divyne] and look him in the face as someone who’s gone through it and can talk to him and share my experience is important to me,” Capitals player Devante Smith-Pelly, who is black, tells the team website. “It’s a pretty gross thing to be happening." Smith-Pelly and teammate John Carlson told the youth team of the free tickets in this video. The young players also will meet the Capitals after the game. (Smith-Pelly heard similar "basketball" chants during a game in Chicago last year.)

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