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Statue of Mario Lemieux vandalized during Pittsburgh protests.

An absolute disgrace.

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There are protests going on all around the United States on Saturday, a follow up to the protests and riots that have taken place over the last several days in the country, but for hockey fans the protests in Pittsburgh on Saturday turned particularly ugly. 

Early on in the day most protestors appeared to be marching peacefully in the streets of downtown Pittsburgh, frankly a nice change of pace from the wanton violence and destruction that we have seen on the streets of America over the last several days, but unfortunately as it often the case in these situations things eventually turned ugly when bad elements among the crowd began committing acts of violence and vandalism. Many of those acts occurred near PPG Paints Arena in downtown Pittsburgh, the home of the Pittsburgh Penguins, and unfortunately one of hockey's greatest icons was disgraced in the process. 

According to a report from Seth Rorabaugh of the Pittsburgh Tribune Review, the iconic stature that stands outside of PPG Paints Arena honoring National Hockey League legend Mario Lemieux was defaced by some of those ugly elements on Saturday. As you can see from the images provided below by Rorabaugh the statue was covered in red graffiti, as if somehow disrespecting one of the classiest men in the history of the sport would ever bring the citizens of Pittsburgh to their side of the issue. The graffiti is and was an absolute disgrace and anyone who knows Mario Lemieux and what he has done for the city of Pittsburgh would never take such action. This is mere speculation on my part but I would suspect that the person responsible for this may not even be from the city of Pittsburgh itself.

Unfortunately this was just the beginning of the issues in Pittsburgh and the city has now issued a curfew with Mayor Bill Peduto issuing a clear warning to those doing damage to the city that there will be consequences for their actions. 

"To those vandalizing downtown. You will be arrested," said Peduto on Saturday.

There have also been reports of two people injured outside of PPG Paints Arena so if you do not to be out on the streets tonight please avoid doing so.