Ohio State men's hockey player accused of using racial slur
An Ohio State men’s hockey player is accused of using a racial slur against Michigan State forward Jagger Joshua in a game Nov. 11 at MSU’s Munn Ice Arena.
Joshua, a senior forward and the younger brother of former OSU forward Dakota Joshua, released a statement via Twitter on Monday night detailing what he experienced. He also expressed frustration at the lack of “public action” in response to the incident by Ohio State and the Big Ten Conference.
“Acts of racism do not belong in hockey, as they can discourage African Americans and minorities like myself from playing and loving the game,” Joshua said. “Inaction in the face of racist comments and actions allow these behaviors to continue.”
Joshua alleged that during the Spartans’ 4-3 victory on Nov. 11 in East Lansing, Michigan, an OSU player called him a racial slur “multiple times,” before an official heard it and assessed the Buckeyes player a game misconduct. The only player on either team assessed a game misconduct was OSU forward Kamil Sadlocha at 10:39 of the second period.
Sadlocha, 23, is a senior who was a redshirt freshman when Dakota Joshua, now with the NHL's Vancouver Canucks, was an OSU senior.
Ohio State issued a statement Monday night:
“The Ohio State Department of Athletics and the men’s hockey program worked collaboratively with the Big Ten Conference to come to a resolution in response to the allegation of misconduct toward the Big Ten sportsmanship policy. Ohio State is focused on providing an inclusive and supportive environment for all. Our Buckeye Inclusion committee has done an outstanding job with providing education and awareness across our department, both for students and staff. We are committed to recognizing our remarkable diversity and utilizing our core values to ensure everyone attending or participating in an athletic event feels safe and welcome.”
An Ohio State representative did not immediately reply to a request for clarification about the collaborative "resolution" that OSU and the Big Ten Conference settled upon. Late Monday night, the Big Ten issued a statement to the Wisconsin State Journal's Todd Milewski explaining why no further discipline was issued for the incident.
The statement, which doesn't include the words "racial, racist, ethnic or slur," reads, in part: "The conference office collected and evaluated information from the Big Ten Conference ice hockey officiating crew, The Ohio State University (OSU), Michigan State University (MSU) and available video footage stemming from an incident involving ice hockey student-athletes from both member institutions at Munn Ice Arena in East Lansing on November 11, 2022. The conference supports the decision by the official to levy a game misconduct penalty on OSU. Due to the absence of indisputable evidence presented to the conference, the conference has not imposed further disciplinary action."
The NCAA's 2022-23 and 2023-24 ice hockey rule book also direct officials to issue a game misconduct via Rule 79.3 pertaining to “ethnic/racial slurs.”
According to the NCAA bylaw, the penalty for directing ethnic or racial slurs at officials, opposing players or opposing team personnel is a “game misconduct with the exception of medical personnel. Medical personnel are subject to supplementary discipline penalties.”
Sadlocha has five goals, three assists and eight points in 14 games. Since the Nov. 11 game, he played in both of OSU’s games against Notre Dame this past weekend and hasn’t yet missed any games. He was born in Poland, lists Carpentersville, Illinois, as his hometown and spent two seasons in the USHL — including one (2016-17) that overlapped with Joshua's time in that league.
Joshua acknowledged the Big Ten's investigation, but makes it clear in his statement that he's not happy about the lack of public accountability and discipline.
“The inaction has left me feeling confused and pessimistic about the movement of diversity within hockey culture,” Joshua said. “The ignorance of racism does not belong in our game and I feel that I need to make people aware that this incident occurred, because without acknowledgement the problem gets worse.”
Michigan State also released statements from athletic director Alan Haller and men’s hockey coach Adam Nightingale.
Haller’s statement: “Michigan State Athletics stands with Jagger Joshua and commends him for having the courage to speak up against racial injustice. As a department, we are committed to providing opportunities for all student-athletes to compete in a space free from discrimination, racism or hate.”
Nightingale’s statement: “At Michigan State, we are committed to a safe and welcoming space for our student-athletes. It is important to me that all student athletes feel comfortable and supported in our locker room and in our program. I am proud to have Jagger Joshua on our team.”
Joshua, 23, is in his fourth year at Michigan State. He has six goals, five assists and 11 points in 14 games for the Spartans, who swept two games from the Buckeyes during the weekend in question and have pumped life back into a struggling program.