Oilers GM calls online comments about Ethan Bear “unacceptable and disgusting”

Support is coming in for Edmonton Oilers defenceman Ethan Bear after a number of racist online comments were made following his team’s departure from the Stanley Cup playoffs Monday night.

News of the abuse came to light when Bear’s girlfriend put up her own social media post detailing the messages that the 23-year-old Bear, a member of the Ochapowace First Nation, has been getting since the Game 4 loss where he was benched by head coach Dave Tippett after making a mistake on what was the game-tying goal. In that post, Lenasia Ned says ““Ethan has received numerous racist messages and comments. To hide behind a screen is cowardly. But to use stereotypes against him as an Indigenous person is dehumanizing and awful!!

During a season-ending availability on Thursday, Oilers GM Ken Holland says he feels for sick for Bear and that the kind of abuse he is getting is unacceptable and disgusting.

Holland referred to Bear as an “unbelievable young man” and a “tremendous role model, especially in the Indigenous community.” He added that he will be speaking with Bear about what has gone on.

Bear went to Twitter using the Oilers account late Wednesday afternoon to issue the following statement.

The Oilers also issued a statement denouncing what has taken place.

The Edmonton Oilers Hockey Club is disappointed in these disgusting, cowardly and racist remarks. While we have witnessed progress in the area of equality and inclusion, this reprehensible behaviour demonstrates we still have significant work to do. Ethan Bear is an incredibly skilled hockey player and a beloved teammate. His community-minded efforts both here in Edmonton and in Saskatchewan represent the qualities any organization could possibly ask of its members.

These comments also fly in the face of the work the organization has done to embrace reconciliation and build a strong and positive relationship with our Indigenous community. We call upon everyone in Oil Country to stand up to racism, call out hatred and do their part in making our community one of acceptance, inclusion and respect.

More from Play92