Racism within sport is a prevalent issue worldwide. Fear of racism follows many athletes throughout their entire career. For Montreal 13-year-old Matéo Pérusse-Shortte, racism was first experienced while playing hockey at the age of eight and the discrimination has only continued to follow him into his teens. With this issue continuing to grow, it is not just the players on the ice who create these derogatory comments, but the parents in the stands who join in as well. In an interview, Pérusse-Shortte states, “We were in the semi-finals and I scored the tying goal. I got to celebrate in the stands and there was a family flipping me off calling me the N-word”. Having faced these racist remarks, Matéo Pérusse-Shortte is motivated to help other hockey players navigate their struggles on and off the ice.
Pérusse-Shortte has planned to launch an online diversity group starting in September as a way to make hockey more inclusive. He aims for hockey players of colour to have a greater sense of belonging within their sport by sharing their individual experiences with racism. He also hopes for coaches to seek out information on how they can support their Black players, how they can identify when racism is taking place and what to do about it when it occurs.
Research has evidently shown racism in sport to be very prominent in today’s society. However with support and advocation like an online diversity group, there is hope to provide equal opportunity for all. After all, athletes are stronger together and not alone in the game.