On Friday, K’Andre Miller, 20, joined New York Rangers fans in a Zoom conference call and chat organized by the team.
During the call, while Miller was attempting to answer a question about who he’d want to have as a teammate, racial slurs were repeated on the live chat that Miller could see. For those who don’t want to watch the video I just hyperlinked to, Miller noticed the repeated use of the n-word and stumbled in his sentence before professionally continuing the interview.
Fans immediately went to social media to call out the racial abuse. All the while, the call continued for several minutes before finally being ended. The NHL and the New York Rangers later put out statements, saying the attack was caused by a “hack”, and asserting that such acts are not welcome in the hockey community. The Rangers said that they are investigating the matter.
Statement from the National Hockey League: pic.twitter.com/ykOTlDas6u— NHL Public Relations (@PR_NHL) April 3, 2020
Zoom Video Communications, the American remote conferencing services tech company, has consistently seen racial and pornographic content shared through public conferences since its explosion into the mainstream as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic.
One particular case was the Hockey (Analytics) Night in Canada, an online conference by the brilliant minds of the hockey analytics community, was forced to close their public room when a troll took over screen sharing and posted lewd photos on the screen. Zoom does not have any moderators or systems for content screening.
Thanks on #HANIC. @Jackie_Redmond, @nursey16, @RenataFast, @natspooner5, @acthomasca, @IneffectiveMath, @catmsilverman, @icehockeystick @sarahrunbailey, @harmandayal2, @mike_p_johnson. @AlisonL with the huge assist.— Meghan Chayka (@MeghanChayka) March 29, 2020
Should we do it again?
Also to the trolls: pic.twitter.com/9OX1IpFBzB
Miller later responded to a Twitter DM from a Rangers fan with a really sweet and courageous message.
What a great person. It really sucks that he’s had to deal with this shit. pic.twitter.com/MDxdfjKnUY— Kaapo (@nyrdc2) April 3, 2020
Miller was recently featured on The Color of Hockey blog where he told his life story and shared his dream of making the NHL.
“They didn’t see me as ‘the hockey player type.’ I was a long, skinny kid. I looked like a basketball player,” Miller told me recently. “Every time I would go out to eat, people would be, like, ‘Oh, you play basketball, don’t you?’ I’d be like, ‘No, I actually play hockey.’ And they’d be like ‘Wow, you don’t really look like that type of player.’”
The outpouring of support also came from the hockey community.
The classic “thoughts and prayers” is sometimes seen as surface level and insincere, but in these instances, showing a victim of discrimination or abuse that there is a large majority out there ready to stand behind them and supporting the calling out of hate. Speaking from experience, it’s a lot easier to find support and find a voice to right a wrong done upon you when you know there are people who can and will listen and help. We saw this with Akim Aliu and Bill Peters, people stepped forward after they realized they could because Aliu was brave enough to stand up.
We should applaud the swift response from @NHL & @NYRangers condemning the hate crime directed at K’Andre Miller by a racist coward. K’Andre is a superstar & brave beyond belief & deserves all of our support. Here for you brother! It’s our duty to fight racism & hate TOGETHER ✊ !— Akim Aliu (@Dreamer_Aliu78) April 4, 2020
What happened today was inexcusable and cowardly. Racism has no place in the hockey community or the world. @kandre_miller we are excited to have you as a part of the @NYRangers and I look forward to having you as a teammate.— Jacob Trouba (@JacobTrouba) April 4, 2020
My sincere apologies to @kandre_miller and his family. These disgusting, cowardly, racist attacks on K’Andre Miller embarrass the entire hockey community. K’Andre, the NHL community can’t wait to officially welcome you, we are so happy to have you.— Brian Burke (@Burkie2020) April 4, 2020
Ryan Hardy is Miller’s old GM at the Chicago Steel (Greg Moore’s old team and Nick Abruzzese’s current team). He said better than I that people like Miller carry pain unlike anyone can imagine.
I’ve known K’Andre Miller since he was 14 years old. Beneath a tough guy exterior, he’s a sweet kid with a big heart & a dream of making his mother proud. He carries pain inside him that I can never comprehend. Today’s events won’t break him. I wish I could give him a hug. ❤️— Ryan Hardy (@ryanphardy) April 4, 2020
Our friends at Blueshirt Banter have not posted anything about this attack on Miller as of the time I’m writing this, but I can tell you these two articles were near the top of their most-clicked articles as of late last night.
Morgan Rielly and Justin Holl took part in Leaf to Leaf @ Home (presented by Rogers). They spent 16 minutes joking about their teammates and even doing a show and tell!
Other Hockey Branches
ATTENTION: ACTUAL HOCKEY STUFF HAPPENING
The 2020 OHL Priority Selection Draft is happening today (Saturday) at 9:00am EST with the first three rounds broadcast on YouTube.
There has been a little drama (as is usual) heading into the OHL Draft, as top prospect Adam Fantilli could fall down the order due to some shenanigans surrounding some OHL teams and potentially the USHL Chicago Steel. The threat is some teams may pass on Fantilli out of fear he might not report to the OHL and instead go to the USHL. It is being floated right now that some teams have gotten Fantilli to agree to come to them if they pick him. All of this is speculation and gossip so I’ve shared some relevant hyperlinks within this paragraph for those interested.
In today’s edition of “not-hockey thing that I found very funny,” dad pretends his toddler is a Baltimore Orioles pitcher and claps bombs on them all day.