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ECHL Suspends Jacksonville Player Accused of Directing Racist Gesture at Opponent

Sports Illustrated logo Sports Illustrated 1/23/2022 Ben Pickman

Jacksonville Icemen defenseman Jacob Panetta allegedly directed a racist gesture toward South Carolina Stingrays defenseman Jordan Subban.

Jerome Miron/USA Today Sports © Provided by Sports Illustrated Jerome Miron/USA Today Sports

The ECHL suspended Jacksonville Icemen defenseman Jacob Panetta indefinitely on Sunday, pending a hearing, after Panetta allegedly directed a racist gesture toward South Carolina Stingrays defenseman Jordan Subban, who is Black.

Video footage from Saturday night's game between the teams shows Panetta, 26, gesturing toward Subban during an altercation at the beginning of overtime. Officials assessed 27 minutes in penalties, including a double game misconduct, to Panetta during the incident.

"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," Subban wrote on Twitter.

Subban, 26, was a fourth-round pick of the Canucks in the 2013 NHL draft. Subban's older brother, star Devils defenseman P.K. Subban, voiced his frustration about the incident on social media, writing, "They don’t call the East Coast League the jungle because my brother and the other black players are the monkeys! Hey @jacobpanetta you shouldn’t be so quick to delete your Twitter or your Instagram account, you will probably be able to play again… that's what history says but things are changing. Now not just the hockey world knows your true colours."

Stingrays team president Rob Concannon responded to the incident Sunday morning in a statement: "The South Carolina Stingrays are disgusted and appalled by last night’s incident involving Jordan Subban. 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. This behavior is unacceptable and has to stop."

Saturday night's incident came a day after the AHL suspended Krystof Hrabik of the San Jose Barracuda for 30 games for directing a racist gesture at Tucson Roadrunners forward Boko Imama during a game.

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