Racist Comments Directed at Colorado Avalanche Player Leave Fans in Hot Water
Syntrio advocates civility, respect, and a positive workplace culture. We believe that employees are in the best position to succeed when they work in an environment that is inclusive and supportive. In order to achieve this goal, we educate employers and their workforce on the prevention of harassment and discrimination, as well as civility and respect, diversity, equity and inclusion, empowerment to speak up when something is wrong and mindfulness. A May 22, 2022 ESPN.com report shows the intersection of all these elements in the worst possible way.
During game 3 of a second round NHL Playoff series between the Colorado Avalanche and St. Louis Blues, Avalanche forward Nazim Kadri (who is Canadian of Lebanese descent and also Muslim) collided with the Blues’ goaltender. Kadri’s hit caused the goaltender to be injured and miss the rest of the series. Following game 3, Kadri and his family were subjected to a number of racially and religiously motivated threats and harassing messages online, (which are too graphic to include in this post), suggesting that Kadri is a terrorist, wishing him harm, and even suggesting he commit suicide.
On May 23, the Avalanche announced they were working with members of local law enforcement, and that Kadri felt unsafe in his hotel after the game. A representative from the Avalanche reiterated that “racist attacks have no place in hockey and should be investigated and reported on.” Kadri defended his actions during the game, and on May 24 Kadri’s wife shared further threatening and racist messages she had received from people purporting to be Blues fans.
The situation surrounding Kadri is the very essence of a hostile work environment wherein an employee in despair had to report threatening actions received by himself and his family. While the employer (the Avalanche and the league) immediately reacted and spoke out, the fact that an individual was subject to racially and religiously motivated harassment while performing his job indicates a significant disconnect between the family-oriented and diverse culture the NHL and its member clubs promote and what is going on within the league and in its arenas. This story dovetails on a number of homophobic incidents occurring during NHL games, for which the league issued suspensions.
People think of professional sports as entertainment and an escape, and such entertainment is what these organizations sell. But these are workplaces just like any other, and when employees are subjected to intolerable work environments it is clear the culture needs to change. When players, fans and coaches are routinely embroiled in controversy over harassing comments, the employer must take notice and make effort to change its culture before the operation crumbles. The type of messages Kadri received are unacceptable in any environment, much less the workplace. It is no matter what business an employer is engaged in, its customers have no right to harass people who are trying to do their job.
While professional sports are a high-profile environment, the types of incidents that Kadri reported are common throughout business. Too many organizations allow employees to be subjected to harassment and/or discrimination. In many organizations these types of incidents lead to high-profile lawsuits and charges that cost millions of dollars to ultimately settle, but what is more important is the human element. No employee should be subjected to racist and religiously harassing remarks. Syntrio has worked hard to create a program that centers on cultural improvement and tolerance of people from all backgrounds. We strongly recommend all employers consult with a member of our staff to see how we can help your organization prevent ugly incidents like the one that occurred following game 3 of the Avalanche/Blues series, and hope to help you keep your employees happy and free from harassment of any kind.