Earlier this month, a brawl broke out in the middle of a hockey game between two 14-and-under teams, one from Pennsylvania and the other from Maryland. It wasn’t because of a massive hit or a cheap shot on the ice, it was due to the racial slurs that were shouted by the Pennsylvania based team towards Metro Maple Leafs’ Divyne Apollon II all night long.
Apollon’s teammates had heard enough and decided to try to silence the racist comments by having their teammate’s back and fighting their opponents. Now Apollon and his entire team have the Washington Capitals watching their backs after John Carlson and Devante Smith-Pelly reached out to the team with a special invitation.
Shortly after hearing the news, Capitals John Carlson and Devante Smith-Pelly teamed up and put together a special video message for Apollon and the Metro Maple Leafs, which included an invitation to the Capitals’ game on January 18 when they host the New York Islanders, as well as a post-game meet and greet and possible in-game interviews.
Smith-Pelly has been in Apollon’s shoes before and has had similar racist comments made towards him. Nearly one year ago during a game in Chicago, Smith-Pelly heard numerous racist comments while he was sitting in the penalty box and he did not stay quiet about the situation. Neither did his head coach at the time, Barry Trotz.
Racism shouldn’t be a thing in 2019 but, sadly, it is. Fortunately we have public figures like Devante Smith-Pelly, PK Subban and LeBron James, to name a few, who aren’t afraid to speak out about the disgusting gestures and comments they have to deal with and continue to do whatever they can to help make a difference for young people following in their footsteps.