Allegations of racism have surfaced in the NCAA from Michigan State forward Jagger Joshua.
Joshua released a statement on social media stating he faced an Ohio State player calling him “a racial slur multiple times” during their Nov. 11 men’s hockey game. The Ohio State player was assessed a game misconduct, but according to Joshua, the Big Ten Conference and Ohio State have taken “no further public action.”
“Acts of racism do not belong in hockey, as they discourage African Americans and minorities like myself from playing and loving the game,” said Joshua in his statement. “Inaction in the face of racist comments and actions allow these behaviors to continue.”
The Dearborn, Mich. product’s reference to inaction was directed at the Big Ten and Ohio State following an investigation Joshua says was conducted related to the incident.
“The inaction has left me feeling confused and pessimistic about the movement of diversity within hockey culture. The ignorance of racism does not belong in our game,” he continued.
While Ohio State and the Big Ten had yet to comment at the time of publishing and did not immediately respond to requests for comment from The Hockey News, Michigan State released statements in support of Jagger Joshua.
“Michigan State Athletics stands with Jagger Joshua, and commends him for having the courage to speak up against racial injustice,” wrote Michigan State vice president and director of athletics, Alan Haller. “As a department, we are committed to providing opportunities for all student-athletes to compete in a space free from discrimination, racism or hate.”
Joshua is in his fourth year with the Spartans scoring 11 points in his first 14 games this season.
His brother Dakota Joshua currently plays for the NHL’s Vancouver Canucks and is an Ohio State alumni.
Anti-racism initiatives within leagues across North America and from organizations such as Black Girl Hockey Club and the Hockey Diversity Alliance have been working to create safe places, free from racism, in the sport for athletes of color.
Michigan State coach Adam Nightingale said he believes it is his program’s responsibility to provide that space to athletes, including Joshua Jagger.
“At Michigan State, we are committed to a safe and welcoming space for our student-athletes,” wrote Nightingale. “It is important to me that all student-athletes feel comfortable and supported in our locker room and in our program.”
The Hockey News will update this story when Ohio State and/or the Big Ten Conference provide comments.