The Bruins’ Stanley Cup defense came to an abrupt end last night, as they bowed out to the seventh-seeded Washington Capitals in a 2-1 Game 7 overtime heartbreaker. Obviously, a huge win for the Capitals, who in beating the defending champs bucked a trend of recent playoff disappointments, and after Joel Ward scored the series winner, their announcer reacted like it:
An excellent reaction, we thought. Unfortunately, other aspects of the aftermath of the Capitals win were the opposite of excellent. Joel Ward is black. That led to a number of assholes doing this. And those assholes led to some ragging on the city of Boston in general.
But that ragging misses the point. Because singling out Boston fans, not only paints the Bruins’ entire fanbase with too broad a brush, it underplays the real issue, which is that racist reactions like these happen everywhere. Ask Wayne Simmonds (or the Penguins fans tweeting racist things at him during their series with the Flyers).
It would be a lot easier if this stuff were specific to one city, but it’s not. It fully deserves to be called out – and for the people doing it to be publicly shamed – when it happens, but it does a disservice to everyone to use it to make fun of one city, or one fanbase. If Ward scored that goal for the Bruins instead, some of the same fans throwing around slurs would have been celebrating him. It’s not a Boston problem, it’s just a problem, period – and if it’s just used as a lazy trump card to show why your fans are better than some other team’s fans, it’s not changing anytime soon.
Video by CJ Fogler.