Racism in the NHL Goes Well Beyond Tony DeAngelo

Author’s note: This is a new and continually evolving story. Details within this article may be different or outdated than current news as new information continues to be reported.

It was announced on Sunday that the New York Rangers placed defenseman Tony DeAngelo on waivers. Looking at this news objectively, one might think it’s due to DeAngelo’s poor play so far this season. But it is so much more than that. If you are active in the online hockey community, you most likely know that DeAngelo is incredibly problematic. He has made his support for known racist and twice impeached former president Donald Trump very obvious. He has since deleted his Twitter account in ‘solidarity’ with Trump’s account getting removed from the app. He announced that he was relocating to the since removed app Parler, a right-wing social forum that played a role in planning the domestic terrorist attack on January 6, 2021.

Screenshot taken from DeAngelo’s Instagram Story

But his toxic social media presence isn’t the reason for his release, even though it should have been addressed a long, long time ago. After the Rangers’ overtime loss to the Penguins, there was reportedly an altercation between DeAngelo and Rangers’ goalie Alex Georgiev. This altercation was a result of a miscommunication between the two during overtime, leading to Sidney Crosby’s game-winning goal. This is an evolving story, and it has since been reported that Rangers defensemen K’Andre Miller broke up the fight between the two. It has also been alleged that DeAngelo was punched in the face by teammate Chris Kreider.

Since this story broke, disturbing details about DeAngelo’s treatment of Miller have been coming out. An article by Blueshirt Banter reported that “there was concern at various levels of the organization regarding DeAngelo’s treatment of rookie defenseman K’Andre Miller.” There has yet to be any specific details on the tension between the two, but one reported incident is that DeAngelo kept the puck from Miller’s first career NHL goal, because DeAngelo can be seen picking up the puck.

Gif courtesy of Blueshirt Banter

Miller’s agent has since refuted this claim, stating that it’s “K’Andre’s understanding that the NYR equipment manager…has the puck and that it’s being framed like other first goals.” It has been assumed that DeAngelo handed the puck off to the equipment manager.

While we are not denying the word of someone close to Miller, many fans have noticed an inconsistency with this story. Fans have posted photos of other, white Rangers players posing with the puck of their first NHL goal. No such photo of Miller exists anywhere on the internet as of right now.

Blueshirt Banter also reported that “tensions have been building up in the locker room prior to the incident on Saturday night.” What this tells us is that multiple people across the Rangers organization were aware of the visible mistreatment of one of their players and they let it continue until the player causing the mistreatment had his behavior boil over. This isn’t the first time the Rangers have been guilty of something like this. Fans have pointed out claims made by former Rangers player Lias Anderrson. After being traded to the Kings, Anderrson said that “My situation with the Rangers wasn’t the best,” he also said that being traded was, “kind of a relief feeling.” Anderrson discussed his mistreatment within the organization saying that there were, “A lot of things happening and eventually there was one too many. I felt enough is enough.” Anderrson was directly asked if he was ‘bullied’ within the organization to which he answered, “I don’t know what to say or what to answer. It’s been tough.” The Rangers denied any incidents ever occurring.

Back to DeAngelo, it is not a stretch to say his behavior as a teammate is nothing short of toxic. DeAngelo was benched twice as a member of the Ontario Hockey League for violations of the league’s harassment, abuse, and diversity policy. DeAngelo was also fined and suspended for three games back in 2017 for abuse of an official. It’s also not a stretch to say DeAngelo holds racist beliefs. In fact, that claim is supported by his own father. In the video below, DeAngelo’s father claims that he and his son both use slurs practically every day, defending it with the cowardice excuse that it was just the way he was raised.

This is far from the first incident of the NHL giving opportunities and chances to known racist, sexist, ableist players. In the 2020 NHL draft, the Arizona Coyotes drafted Mitchell Miller. Miller had a known history, one to which he testified in court, for his racist and ableist bullying and abuse of Isaiah Meyer-Crothers, a mentally disabled Black teenager who grew up in the same town with Miller. Miller had physically assaulted Isaish on multiple occasions, called him racial slurs, and even forced him to lick a urinal. Isaiah’s mother says that Miller has yet to apologize to her son and their family. Read more about it here.

St. Louis Blues goalie Jordan Binnington has multiple tweets on his account that are sexist and racist. Binnginton has offered a pathetic excuse of an apology for these tweets and has never faced any consequences for these hateful comments. The Blues organization themselves have shut down any attempt of reporters asking Binnington about these tweets.

These are only a few of many, many incidents in the NHL. In a league that claims that ‘Hockey Is For Everyone’, they have failed to hold players who make this a space uncomfortable for anyone (who isn’t a straight white male) accountable for their actions. They continually sweep issues under the rug and continue to give platforms to these players, oftentimes making sure they prioritize their comfort instead of the comfort of those being mistreated. By doing this, they have created a toxic environment not only for players but for fans. By seeing players with hateful mindsets avoiding consequences, hateful fans have only continued to defend these players and therefore pushing away a more diverse fanbase. The league must do better to not only condemn this behavior but to swiftly make sure this behavior is removed from the league.

If you would like to get more involved in growing diversity in the hockey community, you can click the link here and join us by signing the Black Girl Hockey Club ‘Get Uncomfortable’ campaign, disrupting racism throughout the hockey community.

You can also view the full DeAngelo article by Blueshirt Banter here.

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