Black hockey player boycotting Ukraine’s league till racist taunt punished

9/28/2021 3:56:45 PM EST

Jalen Smereck, an African-American player in the Ukrainian Hockey League, announced Tuesday he will sit out until the opposing player who made a racist gesture toward him is punished for his actions.

During a game Sunday, Andrei Deniskin shouted at Smereck before miming unpeeling a banana and eating it.

"These situations are very tough and I'm a big believer in standing up for what is right," Smereck wrote on Instagram. Therefore, I have been putting a lot of thought into what comes next for me in my career. As of right now, I have decided that I will be taking a personal leave of absence from HC Donbass and I will not play another game in the UHL until Andrei Deniskin is suspended and removed from the league."

Smereck, 24, is a defenseman for HC Donbass, playing his first season overseas after some time as an Arizona Coyotes prospect. Deniskin plays for Kremenchuk.

Deniskin was ejected for his gesture and posted an apology to social media after the game. The UHL has said it will open disciplinary proceedings against him.

Smereck thanked HC Donbass and the hockey community at large for their support since the incident.



--Field Level Media

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