NHL star P.K. Subban says he’s ’embarrassed’ for hockey following monkey taunts aimed at his brother

"There’s no room for it in our game," Subban told reporters on Sunday.

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New Jersey Devils star P.K. Subban had a message on Sunday for hockey fans and Jacksonville Icemen defenseman Jacob Panetta, who on Saturday was accused of directing monkey taunts at Subban’s brother.

“There’s no room for it in our game,” Subban told reporters during a Sunday press conference. “I’m embarrassed because our game is better than this.”

New Jersey Devils player P.K. Subban speaks during an NHL press conference on Jan. 23, 2022. (Credit: New Jersey Devils on YouTube)

Panetta, who is white, was released from the Jacksonville Icemen on Sunday, according to ESPN, after Subban tweeted footage of Panetta taunting Subban’s brother, Jordan Subban, who plays for the South Carolina Stingrays.

A fight broke out between the two minor league players during the overtime period of their Saturday night game in Jacksonville, Fla. The video appears to show Panetta raising his bent arms to shoulder level in a monkey-like pose while an official led Jordan away from the altercation.

After watching the alleged racist display, Jordan skated back toward Panetta before the two athletes engaged in another melee. Other players from both teams left their respective benches with some joining in the skirmish as fans cheered.

Panetta, who was seen sporting a black eye after the fight, denied that his actions were racially motivated during an apology video he posted on social media Sunday afternoon.

“I’ve made the same bodybuilder gesture to non-racialized players a number of times when there have been on-ice confrontations,” he said. “I want to express to everyone, and especially to Jordan, that my actions were not racially motivated at all, and I sincerely apologize for the pain and suffering and anger my actions have caused him, his family, and everyone that was hurt by this.”

Jordan called out Panetta’s actions before his apology video after Panetta’s team tweeted about the athletes’ “rough fight.”

“More like @JPanetta12 was too much of a coward to fight me and as soon 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,” Suban tweeted late Saturday night after the game.

Subban said on Sunday that he shared video of the incident to shine a light on what he, his three brothers and other Black hockey players have endured all their lives.

“The unfortunate thing isn’t just the incident,” he said. “The unfortunate thing is how many kids deal with this every day and it doesn’t come to light.”

Credit: New Jersey Devils on YouTube

During the press conference, Subban talked about what life has been like for him and his brothers who all grew up playing hockey before turning pro.

“I think that the biggest thing that I want to say on behalf of our family is that we don’t need pity from anyone,” he said. “No one felt sorry for us when we went through our experiences through our life. So we don’t expect anybody to feel sorry and we don’t expect anybody to really understand that isn’t Black.”

ECHL officials have suspended Panetta indefinitely while they review what happened during the incident. Subban said for him what happened isn’t debatable.

“You can debate on whether it’s racism, place-ism, whatever you want,” he said. But for us, this is life. This is life for us and that’s what’s sad. This is life for people who look like me who have gone through the game of hockey.”

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