Capitals owner Ted Leonsis weighed in on the barrage of racist tweets that went public after Joel Ward, a black player, scored the game-winning goal for the Caps in their 2-1 overtime victory over the Bruins in Wednesday night's Game 7. And Ward's agent said the player is aware of the comments but won't allow them to affect him.
Wrote Leonsis on his blog Thursday morning:
Shame on these folks who decided to take to their keyboards and show their ignorance and their racism and hate.
What these people have said and done is unforgivable. I hope they are now publicly identified and pay a huge price for their beliefs. There should be zero tolerance for this kind of hate mongering. Their messages should now stay glued into the algorithms to place a forever warning and a mark upon these people and their actions. They shouldn’t be able to escape their keystrokes.
We will as an organization support Joel Ward. He has been a great teammate and a great citizen. He is now the star of stars in our city for his heroics last night. He is a friend and a fantastic player -- who delivered -- as advertised for us and our fans in the playoffs.
Ward's Boston-based agent, Peter Cooney, told The Globe and Mail of Toronto that the tweets were "appalling," but he said Ward isn't letting them get to him.
"He’s put it in his back pocket, so to speak," Cooney said. "He knows he’s going to have interviews and people talking about it. He’s heard about it, but he said, 'Peter, don’t worry -- that stuff never bothered me.' "
Cooney, who was at Game 7, added that he doesn't believe the racist tweeters are representative of Bruins fans: "I think it’s a very small amount of people," he said. "I’d like to think that, anyway. With [social media] these people get to have a platform that they can put this out there, and it’s too bad. I think if they knew Joel, they would not have this attitude.
"It’s very disappointing, but it doesn’t take any of the success that Joel’s had away."
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