He said what?

@CBurt1987: Never has anyone said anything like that to me on the ice. I’m disgusted and upset. Something needs to happen before things get out of hand

This was posted on Twitter around 11:30 p.m. Saturday night, after RIT’s 6-5 win over Holy Cross at Ritter Arena, RIT’s home rink.  Cameron Burt is an African-American hockey player for RIT.

Within the next hour, Burt’s post generated several responses, including this one, posted Sunday at 12:35 a.m:

@QUHockeyBlog (Luke Devoe): @CBurt1987  @EdTrefzgerUSCHO Awful race related incident tonight for RIT’s Burt. Absolutely no place for it in our sport. Gotta fix this!

(Disclosure: I am a contributor to USCHO.com.)

About 12 hours later, Burt wrote this on Twitter:

@CBurt1987: I apologize to the fans and parents of the children that were at my game last night for my language. I was caught off guard by what was said

However, Burt did not elaborate on what was said to him or what he said in response, despite a handful of online responses. Nor did anyone pin down what was said to Burt. If it was a slur, it’s not worth repeating, but a discussion and dialogue is necessary if so.

So far, there’s no definitive answer to this question:

What was said to him?

We won’t know yet. We’re only going on assumptions and veiled statements right now. Given the circumstances, it’s safe to assume what was said by Burt’s opponent. But when it comes to fact-finding, there’s a need to know, even considering the ugliness of this incident. It deserves public scrutiny.

***

Still, this topic won’t go away.

In a similar vein, consider this. Hockey players will say such – they say they don’t mean it, but whatever they say on the ice comes in the “heat of the game.”

That was illustrated during the preseason, when Philadelphia’s Wayne Simmonds – another black hockey player, who had a banana thrown at him during a preseason game in Ontario – allegedly called Sean Avery a homophobic slur, confirmed by Avery.

To which I asked a Division I hockey player once, “Do you ever think about some of the things you might say to other players?”

Do some of those words justify anything?

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