While Joel Ward's series-winning overtime goal in Game 7 had Capitals fans celebrating in D.C., it sparked a backlash of racist reactions on Twitter.
WARNING: UNCENSORED TWEETS BELOW
A Canadian born to parents who emigrated from Barbados, Ward's compelling personal story and hard-earned rise to the NHL should make him easy to root for. However, the color of his skin was all that some people could see after he put the puck past Boston netminder Tim Thomas in the extra session. After that series-winning goal during overtime in Game 7, a small but vulgar group vented its anger on Twitter, using the N-word to refer to the Caps' hero. Below is a small sample of the hateful things being said on Twitter.
WARNING: Uncensored tweets contain strong and offensive language
If you feel the need to see further evidence that racism remains a virulent presence in our society then visit Chirpstory, Black Sports Online or Capitals Outsider to see even more of this terrible blather.
Before the 2011-2012 season even began, racism reared its ugly head around the NHL, when a someone in the stands taunted Philadelphia's Wayne Simmonds by throwing a banana peel that landed directly in his path during a shootout attempt.
"When you're a black man playing in a predominantly white man's sport, you've got to come to expect things like that," Simmonds said after that preseason game.
While this seemed to be a case of a small group of Bruins fans lashing out an opposing fan player, it is hardly the first the time that sports fans have crossed the line. After the San Francisco 49ers were eliminated from the NFL playoffs, Kyle Williams was the subject of death threats on Twitter from fans of his own team.
UPDATE: Joel Ward commented on the racial slurs directed at him by Bruins after scoring the series-winning goal that sent the Washington Capitals to the second round of the playoffs.
"It doesn't faze me at all," Ward told USA Today. "We won, and we are moving on. People are going to say what they want to say."