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NHL star P.K. Subban said he "couldn't sleep" after hearing his younger brother was the target of an allegedly racist taunt by an opposing player in the East Coast Hockey League.
South Carolina Stingrays player Jordan Subban, who is Black, claimed Jacksonville Icemen defenceman Jacob Panetta made "monkey gestures" toward him during an ECHL game last Saturday.
According to ESPN, the alleged incident occurred during overtime when South Carolina's Andrew Cherniwchan slammed into Jacksonville goalie Justin Kapelmaster, starting a fight between members of the two teams.
"... @JPanetta12 was too much of a coward to fight me and as soon as I began to turn my back he started making monkey gestures at me so I punched him in the face multiple times and he turtled like the coward he is," Jordan wrote in a tweet in response to a post on the Icemen's Twitter account.
Following the altercation, the ECHL indefinitely suspended Panetta and the Icemen released him from the team a short time later.
"I didn't sleep much," P.K., of the New Jersey Devils, told reporters on Sunday. "I think I got to bed at like maybe 5 a.m. Obviously, I had a conversation with my family ... sheer disappointment. It's distasteful. There's no room for it in our game. I'm embarrassed because our game is better than this. What I think about is all the great people and the great things about our game that I love.
More like @JPanetta12 was too much of a coward to fight me and as soon as I began to turn my back he started making monkey gestures at me so I punched him in the face multiple times and he turtled like the coward he is. There fixed it 👍🏾 https://t.co/JtPqpN9wwE
— Jordan Subban (@jordansubban) January 23, 2022
"The unfortunate thing isn't just the incident; the unfortunate thing is how many kids deal with this every day and it doesn't come to light," he continued, according to NHL.com.
P.K. also tweeted video footage of the alleged incident
"They don't call the east coast league the jungle because my brother and the other black players are the monkeys!" P.K. said in the post. "Hey @jacobpanetta you shouldn't be so quick delete your Twitter or your Instagram account you will probably be able to play again … that's what history says but things."
In a video posted to his Twitter account on Sunday, Panetta denied the gesture he made was racist in nature and claimed he instead intended to flex his muscles like a "bodybuilder" toward Jordan instead of mimicking an animal.
"I made the same bodybuilder gesture to non-racialized players a number of times when there have been on-the-ice confrontations," Panetta said. "There [are] videos from previous games that demonstrate this. My actions toward Jordan were not because of race and were not intended as a racial gesture. I did not contemplate at the time that it would be perceived by some as a racial gesture."
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"I tried to convey this to Jordan when we were sent to the dressing room during the game," he said. "I was confused about the incident until I saw and [was] told how people viewed it because of the players involved."
Panetta said he understood the impact of his gesture, regardless of his intentions, and went on to issue an apology to Jordan in the video.