A meet-and-greet event sponsored by the New York Rangers went south when K’Andre Miller, a 20-year-old African American defenseman, was the victim of a racial attack during an event hosted on Zoom.
Miller, who signed with the Rangers on March 16, met with 500 fans on Zoom last Friday as part of the team’s “Future Fridays,” an event putting fans in front of the Ranger’s best minor league prospects.
According to The Grio, one user in the chat began repeatedly posted the N-word toward Miller. The person typed it in all caps over and over again until the user was eventually disabled by the Rangers.
The Rangers released a statement on Twitter calling the incident appalling. The National Hockey League added that discrimination of any kind has no place in the league.
“The person who committed this despicable act is in no way an NHL fan and is not welcome in the hockey community,” the league said in a statement. “No one deserves to be subjected to such ugly treatment and it will not be tolerated in our League.”
Miller’s teammate Jacob Trouba also chimed in, calling the act cowardly.
What happened today was inexcusable and cowardly. Racism has no place in the hockey community or the world,” Trouba said on Twitter. “@kandre_miller we are excited to have you as a part of the @NYRangers and I look forward to having you as a teammate.”
Miller, who was drafted 22nd overall by the Rangers in 2018 draft, was slated to join the Rangers before the regular season was suspended due to the coronavirus pandemic. He has a three-year contract worth $3.8 million. Miller joins Seth Jones (son of former Dallas Mavericks Forward Popeye Jones), P.K. Subban, Wayne Simmonds, and others as current black NHL players.
Willie O’Ree became the first black player in the NHL when he debuted for the Boston Bruins against the Montreal Canadiens in 1958. While the NHL has seen an increase in African American players and fans, just 3% of the league’s rosters feature an African American player.