February 20, 2018 / 4:17 AM / a year ago

NHL: Blackhawks ban four fans from home games over racist taunts

Feb 17, 2018; Chicago, IL, USA; The Chicago Blackhawks celebrate a victory following the conclusion of the third period against the Washington Capitals at the United Center. Chicago won 7-1. Mandatory Credit: Dennis Wierzbicki-USA TODAY Sports

(Reuters) - The Chicago Blackhawks have banned four fans from home games at the United Center after they shouted racist taunts at Washington Capitals forward Devante Smith-Pelly during Saturday’s NHL game.

The fans chanted “basketball, basketball” at Smith-Pelly, who is black, while he sat in the penalty box during the third period of Washington’s 7-1 defeat.

Smith-Pelly was visibly upset, grabbing his stick to tap the glass as he argued with the fans, who were soon identified and ejected.

“Racist comments and other inappropriate behavior are not tolerated by the Chicago Blackhawks,” the Blackhawks said in a statement.

The organization also apologized to Smith-Pelly as well as the Capitals.

“Totally unacceptable in our game, in any sport and in society today,” Blackhawks coach Joel Quenneville said ahead of Monday’s home game against the Los Angeles Kings.

Writing by Jahmal Corner in Los Angeles; Editing by John O'Brien

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