For the second time in as many days, Ohio State University addressed accusations that a member of its men's hockey team directed a racial slur at a Michigan State player several times during a recent game between the schools.
MSU senior forward Jagger Joshua tweeted Monday that he had been the target, and that officials on the ice had given a 10-minute misconduct penalty to the offending Ohio State player during the Nov. 11 game in East Lansing, Mich.. That player was Kamil Sadlocha.
As reported by The Columbus Dispatch, OSU athletic director Gene Smith released a statement late Tuesday that was "more conciliatory, apologetic and forceful" than the one the university released late Monday within hours of Joshua’s statement on Twitter.
Ohio State's initial statement didn’t mention Joshua by name, apologize or include any kind of description of what the MSU forward detailed in his account of what happened, according to the Dispatch.
“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,” Monday's statement said. “Ohio State is focused on providing an inclusive and supportive environment for all.”
The statement issued by Smith on Tuesday went much further.
"I want to offer my sincere and heartfelt apology to Jagger Joshua. On behalf of Ohio State University, I am so sorry," Smith wrote, as reported by The Associated Press. "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."
According to the Dispatch, Sadlocha did compete for Ohio State this past weekend in two games against Notre Dame, and Smith’s statement leaves open the possibility he might rejoin the team at some point. "Sadlocha’s removal, even if temporary, is more discipline than what OSU and the Big Ten initially planned," wrote Brian Hedger of the Dispatch.
On Monday, the Big Ten issued a statement that stopped short of mentioning the terms “racial slur" or “ethnic slur.” The conference said its investigation didn’t turn up enough evidence for disciplinary action beyond the game misconduct, which Joshua said an official assessed after hearing Sadlocha's use of the slur.
“The conference supports the decision by the official to levy a game misconduct penalty on OSU,” the Big Ten said Monday. “Due to the absence of indisputable evidence presented to the conference, the conference has not imposed further disciplinary action.”