Jalen Smereck will not tolerate playing in a league that condones racism.
That's the message that the 24-year-old sent on Tuesday morning by announcing that he will be taking an indefinite leave of absence until Andre Denyskin is either suspended by the UHL or removed from the league entirely.
Denyskin has yet to be subjected to disciplinary action two days after he directed a disgusting racial gesture at Smereck during a stoppage in play. To make matters worse, Denyskin took to social media following the game on Sunday to offer an "apology", saying that he meant no ill intent behind the gesture as it is one "that someone can consider as an insult in race".
That, of course, is as ridiculous as it is inaccurate.
Smereck's leave of absence does seem as if it will be a short one, though.
In the days since the incident, both the IIHF and the UHL have publicly condemned Denyskin's actions, with IIHF President Luc Tardiff stating that “We will ensure that all necessary ethics violation investigations occur to ensure that this behaviour is sanctioned appropriately.”
Hopefully, that leads to a lengthy suspension. Or, perhaps, even a lifetime ban.
Regardless, hockey fans across the world are collectively hoping to see Smereck step back on the ice with the support of his team, league, and the sport's international governing body behind him very soon.