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Saturday, May 3, 2014
Twitter bigots have no place in Boston, NHL

By Joe McDonald

WILMINGTON, Mass. -- The racist tweets of a few bigots do not speak for a fan base.

Those who took to Twitter late Thursday night to decry P.K. Subban because of the color of his skin don't deserve to call themselves Bruins fans.

They don't deserve mention at all, but their expression of a hateful, racist viewpoint cannot be ignored.

Unfortunately, their ignorant views got the attention of the sports world and they ended up representing Boston in the eyes of some, which is a misguided shame. These bigots can hide behind the wall of anonymity social media provide, but they have no place in Boston.

These are not the people who dress up in black and gold and fill the TD Garden every game night. No one among the nearly 18,000 fans Thursday could be heard shouting racial epithets at Subban after his game-winning goal. In fact, in all my years following and covering the team, I have never heard the kind of vile bigotry that soiled the social media landscape Thursday night.

Bruins players say they've never heard it, either.

"I didn't hear anything from the fans -- at all," said Bruins forward Brad Marchand. "It's all Twitter."

Bruins coach Claude Julien also said he hasn't heard any racist comments while he's been on the bench at the Garden, or in any building around the league.

"Not to my knowledge, no," he said. "There's a lot of good fans out there, and that's the sad part about it is that your good fans get tarnished because of a couple of comments like that who don't belong in that same group."

The team is just as disgusted as we all are by those who espouse their bigotry and hide behind anonymous Twitter handles. Bruins forward Milan Lucic has a message for those cowards.

"Take a good, hard look at yourself," Lucic said Friday. "You shouldn't be doing anything like that. I have to play against [Subban], and I would never say [that] and cross that line, and neither should they."

If you think for a second that those who tweeted their ignorance are actually Bruins fans, consider this: Are they also offended by Boston forward Jarome Iginla, who, like Subban, is black?

"Exactly," Lucic said. "Jarome is here, and he's been treated with nothing but respect in Boston since he's been here. All the Celtics and Patriots and Red Sox and all those players that have been here have been treated with nothing but respect. If you're going to make bad comments, stick to hockey comments, not to stuff that crosses the line."

Subban's younger brother Malcolm is a top goalie prospect in the Bruins system. What do those who were so disgusted by P.K. think about Malcolm? I shudder to think what was going through Malcolm's mind when he discovered that people who call themselves Bruins fans were spewing such venom.

These weren't the actions of Bruins fans. Bruins fans were angry after Subban's game winner, sure. A few even littered the ice with debris. But it wasn't because of the color of Subban's skin.

It was the colors on his sweater -- bleu, blanc et rouge -- that got them riled up.