A hockey player in Russia who made a slant-eyed gesture toward a Chinese player has issued a public apology after receiving backlash.
The incident: Torpedo Ust-Kamenogorsk (Torpedo Hockey Club) player Stas Petrosyan directed the offensive gesture at Hu Yang of the Beijing-based HC Kunlun Red Star team during a match in the President’s Cup of the Republic of Kazakhstan on Sunday, RT reported.
- The incident occurred while the players were reportedly taunting each other after engaging in a physical scuffle on the ice.
- Petrosyan was captured on video using his hand to pull one of his eyes back, a gesture that many find to be offensive toward Asians.
- Hu Yang is shown appearing to respond with a “crying” gesture.
- According to Torpedo Ust-Kamenogorsk‘s Instagram post, the 21-year-old Russian player was fined for violating “ethical norms.” The hockey club apologized to Hu Yang and wrote that they were “against any manifestation of racism, racial discrimination, xenophobia, and related intolerance.”
In his apology, Petrosyan
acknowledged his gesture was “unacceptable” but insisted he is not racist, saying his actions were driven by “emotions as a result of the scuffle,” according to the Club’s official statement.
- “I sincerely regret what happened,” he was quoted as saying. “I have never divided people by ethnicity and race.”
- He then offered his personal apologies to the Kunlun Red Star and to Hu Yang himself.
- A separate statement from Petrosyan’s team expressed that it opposes “any manifestation of racism, racial discrimination, xenophobia and related intolerance.”
- “There can be no excuse for insulting people based on color and race,” the statement read. “Such behavior is unacceptable in the sports community, where respect for opponents and a fair contest remain the main principles.”