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Video- Sometimes A Video Doesn’t Tell The Story

from Michael Traikos of the National Post,

I’ve watched — and re-watched — the video of Jacob Panetta shrugging his shoulders towards Jordan Subban during an ECHL game on the weekend many times in the past 48 hours.

To me, it did not look like it was racially motivated. But I wasn’t on the ice. More importantly, I’m not black.

So I don’t know — and I can’t know — what must have been going through Jordan Subban’s mind when he saw an opponent making what looked like “monkey gestures” at him. To Subban, who is black, it must have looked similar to the racist gesture that occurred days earlier in the American Hockey League, when a player  made a racial gesture  towards Boko Imama.

Panetta, who was released from his team and suspended indefinitely, said that wasn’t the case.

In an interview with Postmedia on Monday night, the 26-year-old claimed he was only making “a tough-guy, muscle-flexing pose” towards Subban and that it got misinterpreted. It’s the same gesture Panetta said he has made many times before. There’s even video evidence to back that up, as well as of Washington Capitals forward Tom Wilson doing the same thing at the NHL level.


Watch the incident below.

Filed in: Non-NHL Hockey, Minor League, | KK Hockey | Permalink



Yeah look like a tough guy shrug to me.  If we’re gonna clean it up, we’ve got to call it fair.  my partner is black and I didn’t see anything that’d have set me off.  Maybe ai missed it.  I thought it was the gesture early on before the fight, is that what we’re talking about?  nothing has come out about any other racial things he said or did during the game so I have to assume that was the only incident and I think it’s a case of misunderstanding if they’re talking about what I’m seeing.

Posted by ThatGuy on 01/25/22 at 12:27 PM ET


I can’t say that I saw anything in that video. But now a guy is labeled for life.

Posted by pnwwing on 01/25/22 at 12:53 PM ET

Hippy Dave's avatar

Yeah, I’m confused…

Posted by Hippy Dave from Somewhere West of Detroit on 01/25/22 at 02:40 PM ET

MurrayChadwick's avatar

Wait so there was nothing else to this? And he’s on video doing the same gesture to other players? And nothing was said, no facial expression to go along with it?  Wow, society is quick to react in one direction, this one might be the wrong reaction, he’s got a good case legally against the team and league if he wants to go that route for being released and suspended indefinitely

Posted by MurrayChadwick from Window Seat on the Captain's Ship on 01/25/22 at 03:07 PM ET


I assumed the incident was as bad as described
and felt the same frustration and disappointment
- on behalf of Subban, a guy who is just trying to ply his trade
in a lower league.

I watched and tried to make out any clear gestures
related to this claim. And, not working from a high-resolution
monitor, etc. I just couldn’t see one way or the other.

If the past few years have taught anything, one lesson is surely
not to jump to conclusions (no matter how clever an idea that game may be)
and wait at least a few days for more facts and context to emerge.
I get that now more than ever many are in a position where not weighing in immediately in the most uncompromising, un-cautious language is itself almost considered a firing offense. Actual sincerity aside, you have to performatively show outrage and allegiance before all the facts are in.

I get what Traikos is trying to say - I assume his sincerity in trying to show fallibility and humility. We used to call this common sense sensitivity (not knowing until you walk in someone else’s shoes). More recently, *theory* has taken this impulse toward humility and radicalized it into standpoint epistemology. There is no objective reality or facts. It’s impossible and impermissible for anyone not of the proper group to clearly and accurately ascertain any facts, let alone to have an opinion. Facts are even beside the point. It’s 100% about the subjective reality of any or all members of a group living with special knowledge due to ubiquitous oppression.

This latter part is what I would caution against: I can’t sift through the actual facts and do the work of a journalist to dig into how this person has behaved in other similar situations…because I was born with the wrong skin color/sex/disability status/etc. Sensitivity? Yes. Humility and sense of ones own fallibility? Yes.
The total subordination of discernible, empirical, testable, measurable reality to entirely siloed and subjective racial realities? No.

I’m not saying what we may all have assumed happened and felt half-sick about
actually didn’t. I don’t know. I just know there is more legitimate doubt.
What we can’t do imo is start acceding to an assertion of “larger truths” or so-called poetic or narrative truths (well, things like this used to happen a lot, or sadly still occasionally do happen, or could plausibly happen in a situation like this, so supporting the claims of people/groups and interests most historically effected takes precedence over what actually, factually, did or didn’t happen in this case). People who have as a group been subjected to grievously unfair treatment - including our friends and coworkers, and neighbors, and in many cases our family members and significant others, deserve respect and for accusations to be heard and investigated thoroughly. But we can’t default to abandoning those cognitive and epistemological tools that belong to all of us and which are essential to due process and a shared reality and functioning society, in favor of black truths or white truths or female truths or male truths. Our truths have to be based on what actually happened to the best we can determine in.

Whether the gesture Subban thought he saw was actually made or not, I still feel bad for him and for anyone else in his skates or shoes, playing the sport they love, trying to make a living, who still in 2022 has to even wonder or think twice: did I just see what I thought I saw, hear what I thought I heard? That itself is an unfair burden.
I’m sure there are also plenty of players who unlike Subban can and feel they have to try to hide who they are, how they were born, because they hear how even their teammates, even some of their friends talk about people like them. The game, tough as it is, needs more respect and a more welcoming environment. But if we’re going to come down on a guy for making such an unacceptable and revoltingly dehumanizing gesture to an opponent, we have to be pretty damn sure he actually did it. I think and hope it’s possible to both support Subban and other players who have had to deal with this kind of pure garbage, while also ensuring the facts and reality of each case is what ultimately matters in that case.

Posted by lefty.30 on 01/25/22 at 11:11 PM ET

Rumbear's avatar

Huh? Still looking for the offensive act.

I did see a glimpse of a lawsuit against the league for overacting.

Oh, and good to see PK chime in with his always level headed reaction…..

Posted by Rumbear from Top O the Hasek, sing along The YzerMan Can!...... on 01/26/22 at 06:10 PM ET

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Paul Kukla founded Kukla’s Korner in 2005 and the site has since become the must-read site on the ‘net for all the latest happenings around the NHL.

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