More black minor hockey players in western Quebec are coming forward with racial slur allegations less than a week after another black player spoke out.
Monday, Hockey Outaouais and the team L’Intrépide de Gatineau confirmed in a press release that they had launched an investigation after two of the team’s players claimed to have been the subject of racist remarks.
One of those players, Anthony Allain-Samake, told Radio-Canada that bullying led him to quit the team.
“Being called the N-word was still quite common for several players,” his mother Julie Allain said in French.
“I told him that was totally unacceptable.”
“The referees did not hear it”
Blesson Ethan Citegetse, 14, plays for Hill Wolves Bantam BB level.
He said that during a game last weekend, one of his teammates overheard an opponent using the N-word when referring to Citegetse, who was in the penalty area at the time.
This is not the first time he has been discriminated against, he said.
“I was sad because…hockey is a sport [where] we are all a family. We are all hockey players. We all have to respect each other.”
Citegetse said the incident last weekend made him angry.
“I couldn’t do anything. The referees didn’t hear it. I can’t go and complain to the referees.”
The Citegetse experience comes just days after another black player, David Godwin of the Aylmer Sailboats, told CBC he had been the target of repeated racist taunts and intimidation on the ice during the last season.
On one occasion, Godwin said he was compared to the animals of the African jungle.
The president of the association representing Godwin’s team told CBC News he supports tough penalties for racial taunting and discriminatory behavior on the ice, but on-ice officials need to witness it and report it.
The Minister of Sports reaches out
Jean Bosco Citegetse, Blesson Ethan’s father, said he filed a formal complaint with the association representing his son’s team, which was forwarded to Hockey Outaouais.
“They sent us an email asking us to file the complaint online,” he said. “They didn’t even call us, but our coach…he called me and he apologized for the incident.”
CBC News has contacted Hockey Outaouais to ask what will happen next with the Citegets complaint.
In its press release responding to the concerns raised by Anthony Allain-Samake and his teammate, Hockey Outaouais encouraged victims of discriminatory remarks to complain online.
Godwin’s mother, Vicky Deselliers, said she was sad, but not surprised to hear the other players’ concerns.
“I am very happy that they found the courage to go and denounce the situation,” she said. “Some kids might not and might keep it to themselves.”
After speaking about his experience, Godwin was contacted by federal sports minister Pascale St-Onge, Deselliers said.
“She said, ‘If I can be of any help in any way, let me know and I’ll keep in touch with you. Just carry on. “”
For more stories about the experiences of Black Canadians — from anti-Black racism to stories of success within the Black community — check out Being Black in Canada, a CBC project that Black Canadians can be proud of. You can read more stories here.