Ukrainian league suspends Deniskin over racist gesture
9/29/2021 1:43:39 PM EST
The Ukrainian Hockey League has suspended Andrei Deniskin a minimum of three games after the HC Kremenchuk forward made a racist gesture toward HC Donbass Donetsk defenseman Jalen Smereck.
The ban comes with the option of paying a fine of 50,000 Ukrainian hryvnia, which is roughly $1,870. If Deniskin elects against paying the fine, he will receive an additional 10-game suspension.
Smereck, who is Black, announced Tuesday that he would sit out until Deniskin was punished for his actions.
On Wednesday, Smereck told ESPN that his "heart just kind of dropped" when he saw the length of the suspension.
"I'm not even looking at this as a suspension. This can't be taken seriously," Smereck said. "You get more games for a cross-check or a stupid hit ... for hockey plays. And this is completely un-hockey-like. It's just a bad thing all around."
HC Donbass took to social media on Wednesday to demand a different ruling to the matter.
"$1870 for racism?! For racist actions towards Donbass player (Smereck), Kremenchuk player Andrey (sic) Deniskin was disqualified for three matches," HC Donbass wrote on Twitter. "Deniskin was also given 10 matches of an additional disqualification or fine $1870. We demand a reconsideration of the decision!"
During the second period of a game on Sunday, Deniskin shouted at Smereck and mimicked peeling a banana and eating it. Deniskin was ejected for his gesture and posted an apology on Instagram after the game.
--Field Level Media
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