A Black hockey player was on the receiving end of a racist gesture during the second period of a game in the Ukrainian Hockey League on Sunday. HC Kremenchuk forward Andrei Deniskin acted out the motion of peeling and then eating a banana towards American Jalen Smereck, who plays for HC Donbass.
Following the racist act, Deniskin was ejected from the game. Here is a look at what Deniskin did to get ejected (Warning: the video contains racist content).
On Wednesday, Deniskin was suspended for three plus 10 games and fined for his actions by the Disciplinary Committee of the Ice Hockey Federation of Ukraine. According to TSN's Darren Dreger, the suspension/fine is broken down into three games for the ejection and a maximum 10-game suspension plus the fine. What that means is that Deniskin will serve the three game suspension and can then pay what's equivalent to a $1,870 fine to avoid missing the other 10 games, ESPN reported.
Deniskin took to social media to apologize, but later deleted the post. ESPN reported that he wrote that his gesture was one "that someone can consider as an insult in race." He added, "I respect all people regardless of their race or nationality," claiming that his emotions took over in the moment.
HC Donbass commented on what happened, saying they were outraged by the act and that "racism has no place in sports."
Smereck, a 24-year-old Detroit native, is in his first season with HC Donbass in Druzhkivka, Ukraine and formerly played in the Arizona Coyotes' minor league system. He took to Twitter to thank a supporter and also shared a message for other Black hockey players.
Thanks buddy, but everything is okay I promise you I will make things better for you so when you’re on that big stage you don’t experience things like this and if you ever do don’t let it stop you because you are great and nobody can stop you or tell you what you can do but YOU!— Jalen Smereck (@jalen_smereck) September 27, 2021