Racism allegations have surfaced in the NCAA from Michigan State forward Jagger Joshua.
Joshua released a statement on social media, explaining that he confronted an Ohio State player who repeatedly called him a “racial slur” during their Nov. 11 men’s hockey game. The Ohio State player has been charged with in-game misconduct, but according to Joshua, the Big Ten Conference and Ohio State have taken “no further public action.”
“Acts of racism do not belong in hockey as they prevent African Americans and minorities like me from playing and loving the game,” Joshua said in his statement. “Inaction in the face of racist comments and actions perpetuates these behaviors.”
Product’s reference in Dearborn, Mich. on inaction was targeted at the Big Ten and the state of Ohio after an investigation into the incident was conducted, according to Joshua.
“The inaction has left me confused and pessimistic about the diversity movement in hockey culture. Ignoring racism is not in our game,” he continued.
While Ohio State and the Big Ten were yet to comment at the time of publication and did not immediately respond to requests for comment from The Hockey News, Michigan State released statements in support of Jagger Joshua.
“Michigan State Athletics stands behind Jagger Joshua and commends him for having the courage to speak out against racial injustice,” wrote Alan Haller, Michigan State vice president and athletic director. “As a department, we are committed to providing all student athletes with the opportunity to compete in a space free from discrimination, racism, or hatred.”
Joshua is in his fourth year with the Spartans and has 11 points in his first 14 games this season.
His brother Dakota Joshua currently plays for the Vancouver Canucks of the NHL and is an Ohio State graduate.
Anti-racism initiatives within leagues across North America and from organizations like the Black Girl Hockey Club and the Hockey Diversity Alliance have worked to create safe, racism-free spaces in sports for athletes of color.
Michigan State coach Adam Nightingale said he believes it is his program’s responsibility to provide athletes, including Joshua Jagger, with that space.
“At Michigan State, we are committed to providing a safe and welcoming place for our student-athletes,” Nightingale wrote. “It’s important to me that all student athletes feel comfortable and supported in our locker room and in our program.”
Hockey News will update this story as Ohio State and/or the Big Ten Conference comment.