Oilers' Ethan Bear received racist messages after costly playoff mistake

·2 min read

Edmonton Oilers defenceman Ethan Bear received multiple racist messages and comments over social media after the team was knocked out of the Stanley Cup playoffs, according to his girlfriend, Lenasia Ned.

During Game 4 against Winnipeg, Bear made an untimely line change in overtime that led to the Jets scoring the series-clinching goal as they swept the Oilers out of the post-season.

Edmonton general manager Ken Holland addressed the racist comments Bear received, strongly condemning the hateful messages.

Bear is one of the few active Indigenous NHL players and the only one on the Oilers. The 23-year-old blueliner is from the Ochapowace Nation in southern Saskatchewan and was even able to wear a jersey with Cree syllabics on his nameplate during an exhibition game last summer.

Beyond the representation on the ice, Bear is a role model off of it. He's a young player that has pledged to give back through charity after breaking barriers and has been an inspiration to his community.

This online abuse is less than a month after pretty much every professional soccer league in England boycotted social media after “ongoing and sustained discriminatory abuse received online by players and many others connected to football."

It serves as a stark reminder that a slogan is still not enough to get through to some fans that target players of colour online.

In 43 games played this season, Bear scored two goals and eight points.

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