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Regal Rundown: Boko Imama responds to racist taunt by Brandon Manning

Manning was suspended five games for his use of a racial slur against the Reign forward.

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Sep 20, 2018; Vancouver, British Columbia, CAN; Los Angeles Kings forward Boko Imama (55) skates against Vancouver Canucks defenseman Guillaume Brisebois (56) during the second period at Rogers Arena. Anne-Marie Sorvin-USA TODAY Sports

During Monday’s game between the Ontario Reign and Bakersfield Condors (the Edmonton Oilers’ AHL affiliate), Condors defenseman Brandon Manning was assessed a ten-minute penalty for unsportsmanlike conduct. On Tuesday, the league announced that Manning would be suspended for five games for violating Rule 23.9, which reads as follows:

[T]he following list of infractions can also result in a game misconduct penalty being assessed:

(i) interfering with or striking a spectator.
(ii) racial taunts or slurs
(iii) spitting on or at an opponent or spectator

[T]he Referee shall report all such infractions to the President who shall have full power to impose such further penalty as he shall deem appropriate.

In Manning’s case, this violation was the use of a racial slur against Reign winger Bokondji “Boko” Imama, whose parents immigrated to Canada from the Democratic Republic of the Congo. According to Manning, the two players spoke after the game and Imama “allowed [Manning] to apologize.”

Both Manning, as well as Bakersfield General Manager and Oilers Assistant GM Keith Gretzky released statements via the Condors, supporting the league’s decision and making promises of change.

But promises of change in the future don’t mitigate the harm that has already been done. Moreover, because this happened in the AHL, it’s unlikely to garner the level of attention a similar incident would in the NHL.

Overall, it’s a frustrating situation with a lot of layers, the most important of which being what a player like Imama deals with on a daily basis being both black and a child of immigrants in a sport that so heavily saturated in the idyllic image of the Good Canadian Boy — who is always white, always straight and always serving platitudes about how the team comes before any distractions.

Whether the team and the league see this as just another one of those distractions is yet to be seen, but Imama is understandably asking for privacy in his statement.

“I have taken some time to reflect on what transpired on the ice against Bakersfield Monday night. What happened is unfortunate for everyone. No matter how intense or heated a game gets, there is no room for this in our game and no excuse. I am very proud to be an African Canadian hockey player and to stand for all other players that are in the same situation as me.

I would like to thank the Los Angeles Kings and Ontario Reign, Edmonton Oilers and Bakersfield Condors for their professionalism in helping me handle this situation. Last but not least, I cannot thank my family and friends for their continued love and support.

At this time, I will not make any further statements or comments and I would very much appreciate if those wishes were respected.”

Read more about this — along with other news and notes from around the league — below:

Kings Things

  • Manning, Keith Gretzky Statements Following Monday’s Racist Slur; Imama Statement [LA Kings Insider]
  • AHL suspends Brandon Manning 5 games for using racial slur [NBC Sports]
  • Nosebleeds, Vomiting, Puking: Playing Through The Flu Nuisance In The NHL [LA Kings Insider]
  • NHL is making a push to increase its Latino fan base [The LA Times]
  • Kempe, LA Kings are Oskar Strong [LA Kings Insider]
  • Stadium Series Holds Special Meaning for the LA Kings [NHL.com]
  • Former Kings player Jarret Stoll excels in his role of developing young players [The LA Times]

Elsewhere in the World

  • NHL mascot Gritty investigated for allegedly punching 13-year-old fan [NBC News]
  • State of Hockey rallies after death of 9-year-old boy [Bring Me The News]
  • The NHL’s Analytics Awards at midseason [ESPN]
  • The 2020 NHL Poll: Players have their say on the best player, worst referee, drinking buddies and more [The Athletic]
  • KHL player poll: All-Stars on the next city to get a team, misconceptions about the league and more [ESPN]
  • Would the NHL standings change with a different points system? [ESPN]
  • NHL teams realize backup goaltender is important position [The Denver Post]
  • Penguins still in pursuit of Wild forward Jason Zucker, per report [Hockey Wilderness]
  • Maple Leafs’ Auston Matthews Ruled Out of 2020 NHL All-Star Game with Wrist Injury [Bleacher Report]
  • As WNBA Boosts Pay, Women’s Hockey Players See Path Forward [The New York Times]
  • Women Inspiring Young Women to Play Hockey & Embrace a New Sport [9&10 News]

Recaps & Scores

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