ECHL welcomes back Jacob Panetta despite accusations of racism from Subban.

ECHL welcomes back Jacob Panetta despite accusations of racism from Subban.

Panetta is back.

Jonathan Larivee

One of the biggest controversies of the year in the hockey world thus far was the highly publicized incident involving Jacksonville Icemen defenseman Jacob Panetta and South Carolina Stingrays defenseman Jordan Subban. Panetta was accused of making a racist gesture towards Jordan Subban and due to Jordan's ties to the National Hockey League it was an event that received a ton of traction.

In fact Jordan's brother, star NHL defenseman P.K. Subban of the New Jersey Devils, publicly called out Panetta over the racist gesture and even went so far as to point out that everyone in his hometown would know his "true colors" as well as his family and friends. We covered the comments from Subban in an earlier article that you can go back and read here.

Panetta was however adamant that his gesture had not been motivated by racism and even claimed that it was a gesture he had made several times in the past throughout his career as a hockey player. In fact Panetta would eventually post a video of him making that gesture during a game against the same team, the South Carolina Stingrays, prior to Jordan Subban even being signed to their roster.

In spite of his denials however the ECHL would eventually suspended Panetta indefinitely, but it would appear that this decision has now been reversed. Last week Panetta published a statement on social media that indicated he would be rejoining his teamamtes on the Jacksonville Icemen, and would be reinstated by the ECHL.

From Panetta:

I am so pleased to announce that I have re-signed with the Jacksonville Icemen, of the ECHL, for the remainder of the 2021-22 season.
On March 19, the ECHL Commissioner approved a return to play and I thank the Commissioner for this opportunity.

I am looking forward to being a part of the Icemen again and to making positive contributions on and off the ice.
The support of my family, teammates, coaches, Icemen ownership and staff, and of course, the Icemen fans, has been tremendous and meant a great deal to me over the last 7 weeks.Thank you… was clear and appreciated.

Given that Panetta, to this day, maintains that he was innocent of the accusations there could be additional fallout as a result of this incident. He had his named dragged through the mud by some very high profile figures in the hockey world including the aforementioned P.K. Subban, former Montreal Canadiens enforcer turned radio personality George Laraque, and many more, and I do wonder if Panetta may seek legal action as a result of what he has been through over the last 2 months.