The Chicago Blackhawks have banned four fans from home games following the racist taunts directed at Washington Capitals forward Devante Smith-Pelly during Saturday's contest, according to ESPN. While Smith-Pelly was sitting in the penalty box in the third period, the hecklers repeatedly chanted "basketball" at him until he confronted them.
An off-ice official who was sitting next to Smith-Pelly at the time of the incident notified United Center security, who proceeded to eject the fans.
Smith-Pelly spoke with reporters the following day, and while he wouldn't divulge what exactly was directed at him by the fans, he called their chant "racially charged."
Blackhawks team spokesman Adam Rogowin condemned the fans' chant in a statement. "Racist comments and other inappropriate behavior are not tolerated by the Chicago Blackhawks," the statement read. Meanwhile, Blackhawks coach Joel Quenneville vowed to use this incident as a learning experience for his team. "Totally unacceptable in our game, in any sport and in society," Quenneville said. "We have to learn from something like that. [It] can't happen. I talked to [Capitals coach Barry Trotz] yesterday, apologized to the organization and the player, Devante. We're sorry about what happened and let's learn from it."