U.S.-born player vows not to play in Ukrainian Hockey League until Andrei Deniskin is banned for racist gesture

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Defenseman Jalen Smereck of HC Donbass explained he will not likely participate in an additional sport in the Ukrainian Hockey League right until Kremenchuk forward Andrei Deniskin is “taken out from the league” for creating a racist gesture to him on Sunday.

In the next period of time of their match, Deniskin shouted at Smereck, who is Black, and then pantomimed unpeeling a banana and taking in it. He was ejected from the game, and the UHL announced that disciplinary proceedings would be opened against Deniskin.

“These predicaments are quite difficult and I am a large believer in standing up for what is correct. Thus, I have been placing a lot of thought into what arrives following for me in my vocation,” Smereck posted on Instagram. “As of proper now, I have resolved that I will be taking a personal leave of absence from HC Donbass and I will not participate in an additional sport in the UHL right until Andrei Deniskin is suspended and taken out from the league.”

Smereck, 24, is a Detroit native who is actively playing his to start with time overseas. He was previously a member of the Arizona Coyotes group.

Deniskin posted an apology on Instagram, saying it was “a gesture that an individual can contemplate as an insult in race,” that his feelings bought the best of him, and that “I regard all folks no matter of their race or nationality.”

Luc Tardif, president of the International Ice Hockey Federation, mentioned in a assertion that the IIHF “condemns in the strongest doable conditions” the steps of Deniskin.

“There is no area for this kind of a blatantly racist and unsportsmanlike gesture in our activity and in modern society,” the statement reported. “This a direct assault on the beliefs and values of our activity, and we will make certain that all necessary ethics violation investigations come about to make sure that this actions is sanctioned correctly.”