Joel Ward's series-winning, Game 7 goal propelled the Capitals to the second round of the 2012 Stanley Cup playoffs and also sparked a barrage of racist tweets from Bruins fans. The next day, the Boston organization released a statement condemning the behavior of these individuals.
"The Bruins are very disappointed by the racist comments that were made following the game last night. These classless, ignorant views are in no way a reflection of anyone associated with the Bruins organization."
Earlier on Thursday, Washington Capitals owner Ted Leonsis responded to the torrent of racist comments in a blog post titled, "Keyboard courage and ignorance."
"Shame on these folks who decided to take to their keyboards and show their ignorance and their racism and hate," Leonsis wrote. "What these people have said and done is unforgivable. I hope they are now publicly identified and pay a huge price for their beliefs. There should be zero tolerance for this kind of hate mongering. Their messages should now stay glued into the algorithms to place a forever warning and a mark upon these people and their actions. They shouldn’t be able to escape their keystrokes."
Shortly after the Capitals eliminated the defending Stanley Cup champions, websites like Black Sports Online, Chirpstory and Capitals Outsider gathered lists of racist tweets directed at Ward, who was born in Canada to parents who emigrated from Barbados. (WARNING: STRONG AND OFFENSIVE LANGUAGE)
Perhaps the most famous fan of teams hailing from Boston, ESPN's Bill Simmons, also addressed the tweets in a brief note added to a story about the Bruins' concluded season entitled "Heavy Are the Arms That Lift the Cup" at Grantland. To Simmons, these tweets didn't say as much about the true beliefs of most Boston fans or even state of race in America. Rather, he felt that the hateful tweets spoke most to the nature of the Internet.
"Those morons don't reflect on the city of Boston, but rather the Internet itself — an occasionally unseemly place with little accountability that willingly courts hateful morons from every corner of the world," Simmons wrote, before going on to detail hateful emails that he has received over the years.
For his part, Ward, shrugged off the tweets and told USA Today that they didn't ruin his day.
"It doesn't faze me at all," he said. "We won, and we are moving on."