Response to Racial Incident Leaves MSU Hockey Player Confused, Pessimistic | Athletic Business

Response to Racial Incident Leaves MSU Hockey Player Confused, Pessimistic

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Seems hardly a month goes by without the emergence of new accusations of racial taunts during a college athletic event.

Michigan State University hockey player Jagger Joshua released a statement on social media Monday stating he was called racial slurs "multiple times" by an Ohio State player during a Nov. 11 game at Munn Ice Arena in East Lansing.

As reported by The State News student newspaper, Joshua, a senior forward for the Spartans, said a referee overheard the words and assessed a game misconduct penalty. OSU senior forward Kamil Sadlocha received the only 10-minute major of the game at the 10:39 mark of the second period.

Joshua also said an investigation was conducted by the Big Ten Conference in the days following the incident but no further action was taken by the conference or Ohio State. Sadlocha played in the subsequent series last weekend versus Notre Dame, according to Maddy Warren of TSN.

"The inaction has left me feeling confused and pessimistic about the movement of diversity within hockey culture," Joshua said in the statement. "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."


TSN reported that MSU athletic director Alan Haller and head hockey coach Adam Nightingale released statements jointly through the athletic department.

"Michigan State athletics stands with Jagger Joshua and commends him for having the courage to speak up against racial injustice. As a department, we are committed to providing opportunities for all student-athletes to compete in a space free from discrimination, racism or hate," Haller said in the statement. Added Nightingale, "At Michigan State, we are committed to a safe and welcoming space for our student-athletes. It is important to me that all student athletes feel comfortable and supported in our locker room and in our program. I am proud to have Jagger Joshua on our team."

TSN received the following statement regarding the incident from Ohio State:

"The Ohio State Department of Athletics and the men’s hockey program worked collaboratively with the Big Ten Conference to come to a resolution in response to the allegation of misconduct toward the Big Ten sportsmanship policy," Ohio State athletics said in the statement.

"Ohio State is focused on providing an inclusive and supportive environment for all. The department is committed to providing a safe and inclusive environment for all. Our Buckeye Inclusion committee has done an outstanding job with providing education and awareness across our department, both for students and staff.  We are committed to recognizing our remarkable diversity and utilizing our core values to ensure everyone attending or participating in an athletic event feels safe and welcome."

The Big Ten also released a statement Monday night addressing its investigation.

"The Big Ten Conference is committed to providing our student-athletes 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.

"The conference office collected and evaluated information from the Big Ten Conference ice hockey officiating crew, The Ohio State University (OSU), Michigan State University (MSU), and available video footage stemming from an incident involving ice hockey student-athletes from both member institutions at Munn Ice Arena in East Lansing on November 11, 2022. The conference supports the decision by the official to levy a game misconduct penalty on OSU. Due to the absence of indisputable evidence presented to the conference, the conference has not imposed further disciplinary action.

"The conference is dedicated to listening and learning from our student-athletes, and our Equality Coalition. We will continue to work together to constructively and collectively create inclusive, empowering and accountability resources for our member institutions." 


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