Capitals’ Joel Ward won’t let racist tweets ruin his moment in spotlight
|04.26.12 at 12:50 pm ET|
Capitals forward Joel Ward had a career highlight Wednesday night when he scored in overtime to give the Capitals a 2-1 victory over the Bruins in Game 7 of the Eastern Conference quarterfinals.
However, much of the talk Thursday morning centered around a series of racist tweets from fans that went public shortly after Ward, one of the few black players in the NHL, scored his memorable goal. The tweets were vulgar and shockingly offensive, and the authors have been widely criticized around the web.
Ward, for his part, doesn’t seem interested in letting some poorly thought-out tweets ruin his moment.
“He’s put it in his back pocket so to speak,” Ward’s Boston-based agent, Peter Cooney, told Toronto’s Globe and Mail. “He knows he’s going to have interviews and people talking about it. He’s heard about it, but he said ‘Peter, don’t worry — that stuff never bothered me.’ ”
Ward, 31, signed a four-year contract with the Capitals last offseason after shining in the postseason with the Predators. It capped his rise from going undrafted to playing college hockey at the University of Prince Edward Island to making it to the NHL at the age of 26.
Now, the son of Barbados emigrants who settled in Ontario — Ward’s father died of a stroke watching a 14-year-old Joel play hockey — Ward is a hero in Washington and in the middle of a controversy he did nothing to create.
“It’s appalling,” Cooney said. “Where we are in North America now, it’s hard to believe we still have that prejudice. It’s disturbing. It’s really disgraceful.”
Cooney said he doesn’t think the tweets are representative of Bruins fans.
“I think it’s a very small amount of people,” he said. “I’d like to think that, anyway. With [social media] these people get to have a platform that they can put this out there, and it’s too bad. I think if they knew Joel, they would not have this attitude.
“It’s very disappointing, but it doesn’t take any of the success that Joel’s had away.”