By Dan Bernstein–
670TheScore.com senior columnist
(670 The Score) I’m not the first to call for this, but I’m here to support the idea.
My colleague Steve Rosenbloom of 670 The Score and the Chicago Tribune on Monday requested that we learn the names of the four cretins who taunted Capitals forward Devante Smith-Pelly with racist invective Saturday, leading to their ejection from the United Center.
As Smith-Pelly sat in the penalty box, these pieces of human waste nearby shouted “Basketball, basketball, basketball” at him, in no uncertain reference to the fact that he’s black. He confronted them immediately, and they were identified and summarily tossed.
It’s not enough, for multiple reasons.
First is that they don’t deserve the chance to hide behind their behavior as fans to protect them from consequences in their everyday lives. People around them in any capacity — work, schools or anywhere else their paths may cross — should know that each one of these people chose to taunt a man because of the color of his skin and be better informed to decide on further interaction with them accordingly.
Second, we know of many more who did so much less. Rosenbloom is right to note that Steve Bartman was named and shamed brutally soon after he merely tried to catch a foul pop, but we also know Johnny Macchione as the clown in the Wrigley Field bleachers who poured a beer on the Phillies’ Shane Victorino in 2009 and the Skutnik brothers who ran on the field at U.S. Cellular Field in 2003. The names of William Ligue and Eric Dybas are in public record due to criminal charges for their own, more serious incidents on the South Side as well. This act Saturday may not have risen to criminal charges, but it’s ugly enough to merit the same kind of exposure.
Lastly, it’s not fair to Blackhawks fans as a group or hockey fans in general as another to leave these pigs anonymous. Even after the official proclamations of contempt were issued from both the team and the NHL, the association with this disgusting incident will continue to tarnish larger reputations and brands despite the immediate damage control and whatever more is certain to come. Naming them would isolate them, mitigating the stain on others created by the image of them on television in the high-priced seats in their Hawks sweaters.
Enough time has passed for word to have filtered through. We can know who these people are, so bring it.
Let all the other sports teams ban them for life too, and any other organization, place or person among us that would rather not deal with such proudly outspoken racists.