EAST LANSING, Mich. (Michigan News Source) – Racial slurs were hurled toward Michigan State University hockey player Jagger Joshua on November 11 against Ohio State. An official on the ice heard the slur and gave a misconduct penalty. From that point, Joshua thought more action would be taken against the Ohio State player, but there wasn’t any discipline.
On November 21, Joshua spoke on out his Twitter account (@jaggerjoshua8) with a statement:
“Acts of racism do not belong in hockey, as they can discourage African Americans and minorities like myself from playing and loving the game. Inaction in the face of racist comments and actions allow these behaviors to continue.
On November 11 in our game against Ohio State, one of their players called ma a racial slur multiple times. One of the officials heard the slur and gave the player a game misconduct penalty. There was an investigation by the Big Ten in the days after the incident, but no further public action has been taken by the Big Ten Conference or Ohio State.
The inaction has left me feeling confused and pessimistic about the movement of diversity within hockey culture. The ignorance of racism does not belong in our game, and I feel that I need to make people aware that this incident occurred, because without acknowledgement, the problem gets worse.”
Joshua, a black forward from Dearbon, Mich., chose not to name the player who said the slur but in the official box score there is only one misconduct penalty on Kamil Sadlocha.
The Big Ten’s response in a statement said, “Due to the absence of indisputable evidence presented to the conference, the conference has not imposed further disciplinary action. The Big Ten Conference is committed to providing our student-athlete inclusive environments free from acts of harassment or discrimination in any form. The safety and well-being of our campus communities remains our top priority.”
After the incident, Ohio State and the Big Ten did not have any disciplinary actions for Sadlocha. The Big Ten’s statement said there wasn’t enough evidence and there was no discipline from Ohio State.
Sadlocha played the next two hockey games vs. Notre Dame and it wasn’t until Joshua spoke out on Twitter on November 21 that Ohio State issued a statement on the situation. Then, on November 21, in a late tweet from Ohio State University Director of Athletics Gene Smith about 9:00 p.m., Ohio State responded to Joshua’s statement.
OSU AD Smith posted on Twitter (@OSU_AD) the following:
“I want to offer my sincere and heartfelt apology to Jagger Joshua. On behalf of Ohio State, I am so sorry.
No student or student-athlete should experience hatred or racism, and everyone should feel welcome. I have spoken with Michigan State Athletic Director Alan Haller, and I’m thankful Jagger is getting the support he needs.
Over the last week, the Department of Athletics has worked through this on-ice incident and spoken with Kamil Sadlocha and the rest of the team, and Kamil is returning home and will not practice or compete at this time.
I have met with the men’s hockey team and will be meeting with them again soon to discuss our values. The team will complete education on racial sensitivity, diversity, equity, inclusion and the use of respectful dialog. The department and I will support them through this important process.”
The question remains, if Joshua had not said anything about the situation, would Ohio State have disciplined Sadlocha? The slur took place on November 11 and seven days later he was still playing with no visible disciple. He played in the next two games vs. Notre Dame even after the statement from the Big Ten.
Jacob Stinson, a general assignment reporter for the Impact Sports Department of WBDM 88.9 for Michigan State says in his article, “Each person or group had opportunities both before and after Joshua said something to do what was right. Each one of them failed.”
Stinson makes a great point that both parties had a chance to make public statements before Joshua addressed it. Smith took action as soon as Joshua’s statement came out and proceeded with discipline action on Sadlocha. The hope is in the future in any situation, in any sport, that action will be taken quicker for comments like these and that the one hurt in the action doesn’t have to speak out for discipline to take place.