ECHL suspends Panetta after he is accused of racial gesture

In a post on his Twitter account, Jordan Subban said Panetta “was too much of a coward” to fight him.

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The East Coast Hockey League suspended Jacob Panetta on Sunday after the brother of longtime NHL defenseman P.K. Subban accused the Jacksonville defenseman of making “monkey gestures” in his direction.

The ECHL said the indefinite suspension is pending a hearing under its collective bargaining agreement with its players. Jacksonville then announced it had to decided to cut Panetta.

The incident with Panetta and Jordan Subban, which occurred 23 seconds into overtime during the Icemen’s 1-0 home victory over South Carolina on Saturday, comes in the wake of minor league forward Krystof Hrabik’s 30-game suspension for making a racial gesture during a Jan. 12 AHL game.

Video posted by P.K. Subban on Twitter shows Panetta taking a monkey-like pose while Jordan Subban is being led away by an official. Jordan Subban, who is Black, then skates back toward Panetta and the two lock up at the beginning of a multiplayer skirmish.

In a post on his Twitter account, Jordan Subban said Panetta “was too much of a coward” to fight him.

“As I began to turn my back he started making monkey gestures at me so I punched him in the face multiple times and he turtled like the coward he is,” Subban posted.

Jacksonville is affiliated with the New York Rangers, and South Carolina is a Washington Capitals affiliate.

Stingrays President Rob Concannon said the team was “disgusted and appalled” by what happened.

“Our organization stands in support of our friend and teammate, Jordan, as well as all other players who continue to deal with racism and discrimination,” Concannon said in a statement posted on the team’s Twitter account. “This behavior has to stop and is unacceptable.”

The Icemen first said the organization would “ make comments and decisions ” after the ECHL reviewed the incident. Then team CEO Andy Kaufmann announced Panetta’s release later in the day.

“Though the investigation and review is ongoing at the league level, the Jacksonville Icemen will be releasing the player involved effectively immediately and will continue our mission of sharing our love of community and hockey,” Kaufmann said.

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