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Ohio State suspends hockey player for racial slurs in game vs. MSU

Tony Paul
The Detroit News

Ohio State has suspended the player who was accused of directing racial slurs toward a Michigan State hockey player during a game at Munn Ice Arena in East Lansing earlier this month.

Ohio State athletic director Gene Smith said in a statement late Tuesday night that the player, senior forward Kamil Sadlocha from Carpentersville, Illinois, would be "returning home and will not practice or compete at this time." There were no additional details on how long his absence would last.

On Monday night, Michigan State senior forward Jagger Joshua, from Dearborn, detailed in a social-media post about the incident, which took place in a game Nov. 11. Joshua, who is Black, didn't identify the Ohio State player, but said the player directed slurs toward him multiple times. A Big Ten on-ice official heard it, and reprimanded the player with a 10-minute game misconduct penalty.

Michigan State senior forward and Dearborn native Jagger Joshua

Joshua went public with the incident after the Big Ten investigated and decided against taking additional action. The Big Ten said Monday night that it investigated by collecting information and evidence from the on-ice officials, Michigan State and Ohio State, as well as reviewing available video. The Big Ten said it had insufficient evidence to issue additional discipline to the Ohio State player.

Ohio State also issued a statement Monday night, albeit one that was criticized in social-media spheres for using a lot of words to say very little. Smith, Ohio State's athletic director since 2005, changed that Tuesday.

"I want to offer my sincere and heartfelt apology to Jagger Joshua. On behalf of Ohio State University, I am so sorry," said Smith, who is Black. "No student or student-athlete should experience hatred or racism, and everyone should feel welcome. I have spoke with Michigan State athletic director Alan Haller, and I'm thankful Jagger is getting the support he needs. Over the last week, the department of athletics has worked through this on-ice incident and spoken with Kamil Sadlocha and the rest of the team, and Kamil is returning home and will not practice or compete at this time.

"I have met with the men's hockey team and will be meting with them again soon to discuss our values. The team will complete education on racial sensitivity, diversity, equity, inclusion and the use of respectful dialogue. The department and I will support them through this important process."

Joshua went public Monday night with the support of Haller and hockey coach Adam Nightingale, after neither the Big Ten or Ohio State took immediate action.

Sadlocha played in Ohio State's two games after the Michigan State game in question.

Joshua's Twitter post received more than 32,000 likes and more than 5,000 retweets, with several hockey dignitaries and others sounding off.

"The inaction has left me feeling confused and pessimistic about the movement of diversity within hockey culture," Joshua said in his social-media post Monday night. "The ignorance of racism does not belong in our game. And I feel that I need to make people aware that this incident occurred, because without acknowledgement, the problem gets worse."

Michigan State (9-4-1) returns to action with games at Miami (Ohio) on Friday and Saturday.

Twitter: @tonypaul1984