Dec 12, 2017; Washington, DC, USA; Washington Capitals right wing Devante Smith-Pelly (25) celebrates with teammates after scoring an empty-net goal against the Colorado Avalanche in the third period at Capital One Arena. The Capitals won 5-2. Mandatory Credit: Geoff Burke-USA TODAY Sports

Four Chicago Blackhawks fans were ejected from the United Center on  Saturday night after directing racist taunts at Washington Capitals forward Devante Smith-Pelly.

A Capitals spokesman told The Washington Post’s Isabelle Khurshudyan that the four fans chanted “Basketball, basketball, basketball” at Smith-Pelly while he was in the penalty box during the third period.

After the game, Capitals head coach Barry Trotz called the incident “disgusting,” and said, “There’s absolutely no place in the game of hockey or in our country for racism.”

Trotz added that Devante Smith-Pelly “was a little bit upset.”

“There’s absolutely no place in the game of hockey or our country for racism. I think it’s disgusting, and there’s no place for it. Athletes in our country don’t deserve that. It just shows ignorance.”

The Blackhawks released a statement after the game, saying that they “immediately removed” the fans and “apologize to Smith-Pelly and the Washington Capitals organization.”

“We were made aware of an incident at tonight’s game involving a small group of attendees who made harmful comments directed at Washington Capitals player Devante Smith-Pelly. The fans were immediately removed and we apologize to Smith-Pelly and the Washington Capitals organization. We are committed to providing an inclusive environment for everyone who attends our games and these actions will never be tolerated.”

About Matt Clapp

Matt is an editor at The Comeback. He attended Colorado State University, wishes he was Saved by the Bell's Zack Morris, and idolizes Larry David. And loves pizza and dogs because obviously.

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