The ECHL has reached a verdict on the Jacob Panetta incident, announcing on Thursday that the league has suspended the former Jacksonville Icemen forward for the remainder of the regular season, which will ultimately total 38 games.
The decision comes after Panetta made a racial gesture towards South Carolina Stingrays defenseman Jordan Subban during Saturday's contest between the two teams, leading to a massive brawl. The Icemen released Panetta the next day.
Panetta has since posted a video to his personal Twitter account, which was reactivated after he initially deleted it immediately following the incident, saying that his gesture was not racially-motivated and instead was intended to mimic a weight lifter.
Nevertheless, the ECHL has made it abundantly clear that such actions are unacceptable.
“Insensitive actions and gestures, regardless of intent, cannot be tolerated in our game”, said ECHL commissioner Ryan Crelin in a statement.
“We all need to learn and grow from this incident, and remain steadfast to further educating and advancing our commitment to diversity, equity, and inclusion throughout our league.”
This is the second racial attack professional hockey has seen in the past two weeks.
On Jan. 21, the AHL suspended San Jose Barracuda forward Krystof Hrabik 30 games for directing a racial gesture towards Tucson Roadrunners forward Boko Imama during a game the night before. Imama had been the victim of racial abuse prior to that incident as well, as then-Bakersfield Condors defender Brandon Manning earned himself a five-game suspension in January of 2020 for using a racial slur against him.