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Subban message offers hope to teen target of racist taunts

Subban message offers hope to teen target of racist taunts
Sports
P.K. Subban, the Toronto-born star defenceman of the Nashville Predators, recently sent a video of support to a young Detroit-area hockey player named Ty, who has been the target of racial abuse during games.

“My 13-year-old son has been dealing with a lot of racist taunts this year,” the young man’s parent wrote on Reddit when Subban’s message was posted. “He received a text message Saturday night from his favourite player, P.K. Subban.”

On the video — recorded in Montreal, where the Predators played Saturday — the former Canadien introduced himself before offering some heartfelt advice.

“I can tell you this right now: As long as you’re still breathing in this world, you’ve got to believe in yourself and let nobody tell you what you can and can’t do,” Subban, in town to take on the Maple Leafs on Monday night, said in the 43-second video. “Especially if it’s because of the colour of your skin.

“In this world, some things happen that we don’t really understand. And that’s OK, we don’t have to understand it. All we have to do is understand ourself, believe in ourself and keep trying and keep pushing forward.

“I just want to tell you that when you’re playing hockey, you play because you love the game and you want to play. Let nobody take that away from you.”

The family welcomed Subban’s support.

“This year has been tough,” the parent wrote on Reddit under the username hockey7676 (Subban wears No. 76). “My son is very aggressive and loud, so that brings out the trash talk. I have no problem with trash talking at all (part of the sport), but the racist talk needs to stop.

“Between the N-word being thrown at him over and over, being called monkey by players and parents, having an entire team beat their chests and act like gorillas whenever he touched the puck, and being told he should be lunched by former teammates.

The Reddit thread didn’t include any names, or the league in which the taunting took place.

“The standard response I get (other than his coaches who have his back 100% and have been thrown out of a couple games because of it) is ‘it’s something he has to get used to,’” the parent wrote in response to one reply.

“Refs and coaches hear it. I know because I can hear it sometimes. My son’s coaches have been thrown out of games because they let it go. MAHA (Michigan’s governing body) put rules into place, but at this point they seem only ceremonial.”
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