The biggest controversy of the weekend in the hockey world has just gotten considerably more controversial.
On Saturday during a game between the South Carolina Stingrays and the Jacksonville Icemen, Icemen defenseman Jacob Panetta made an alleged racist gesture directed at Stingrays defenseman Jordan Subban. Jordan is of course the younger brother of NHL defenseman P.K. Subban and as a result it should come as no surprise that this caught the attention of some big names. P.K. himself commented on the situation, absolutely lambasting Panetta for being racially insensitive towards his brother, but now Panetta is denying any wrongdoing in this matter.
In a two part video response published via his social media, Panetta has categorically denied any accusations of racism and claims that he has video evidence that will back up the claims he has made. The accusations effectively amount to Panetta making a monkey-like gesture directed at Jordan Subban, however Panetta claims that this was not the case. Although the gesture can clearly be seen on video, Panetta claims that the gesture was a "tough guy" gesture and not one with racial overtones to it or behind it.
While it may be easy to dismiss the claims made by Panetta here, he claims that there is video evidence of him making the very same gesture in the past at other players that were trying to goad him into fighting. Panetta also claims that these gestures in the past were directed at players with no racial motivation behind them, and although he did not provide any of these videos himself it should be relatively easy to verify whether or not he is telling the truth in this matter.
Update: Panetta has published a video of him making the same gesture:
One thing is certain though, Jordan Subban was attempting to goad him into a fight and has admitted as much publicly. This does not prove Penatta is telling the truth, but it does corroborate one part of his story.
Throughout the two videos published by Panetta he appeared to be struggling to contain his emotions, and if he is indeed innocent in this matter as he claims I can understand why he would be upset. Not only has he been suspended indefinitely and kicked off of his current team entirely, he has also faced some very harsh criticism from thousands of users on social media including high profile players in the National Hockey League that he may have even looked up to.
Here is part 1 of the video he published:
And here is part 2: