Washington Capitals forward Devante Smith-Pelly said, "Change needs to be done" in response to the racist taunts fans subjected him to during his team's 7-1 defeat to the Chicago Blackhawks last Saturday.
"I don't really have all the answers, but something needs to change," Smith-Pelly said in an interview with TMZ Sports. "It shouldn't happen anywhere—hockey, baseball, basketball—it shouldn't happen in the world."
While Smith-Pelly was serving a penalty in the third period, a small group of fans in Chicago's United Center started chanting "basketball, basketball, basketball" at the seven-year veteran. He stood up to confront the fans at the glass separating the penalty box from the arena seats.
Smith-Pelly addressed the taunts a day after the game, saying the fans had "crossed the line" and he had heard that one other time when he was younger.
"It's sad that athletes like myself 30, 40 years ago were standing in the same spot saying the same thing," he told reporters. "You'd think there'd be some sort of change or progression, but we're still working towards it, I guess. And we're going to keep working towards it."
The Capitals shared his full comments:
Not only were the fans in question ejected from the contest, but the Blackhawks also confirmed they'll be banned from attending games going forward.