WAMU 88.5 : The Kojo Nnamdi Show

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John Thompson Jr. Dismisses Racist Reactions To Joel Ward Goal

Washington Capitals right wing Joel Ward, center, is congratulated by teammates after his game-winning goal against the Boston Bruins during overtime of Game 7.
(AP Photo/Charles Krupa)
Washington Capitals right wing Joel Ward, center, is congratulated by teammates after his game-winning goal against the Boston Bruins during overtime of Game 7.

It was a great moment for Washington D.C. Wednesday night. Washington Capitals winger Joel Ward scored in overtime in Game 7 of the team's first-round series against the Boston Bruins, winning the game and the series. It didn't take long, however, for that emotional high to turn into controversy.

Just seconds after the goal scored by Ward, who is the only black player on the Capitals, vitriolic tweets poured in from bitter Bruins fans, many referring to Ward using harsh language and racial epithets.

John Thompson Jr., the former basketball coach for the Georgetown Hoyas and the first African-American to coach a team to an NCAA championship in 1984, spoke to Kojo Nnamdi Thursday about his own experiences with racism in sports, and in Beantown in particular.

"I made a living in Boston, in being with the Celtics," said Thompson. "That's the thing that bothers me when I see something like that is the fact that does not reflect the view of everybody. It reflects the view of a few ignorant people who are still among us. When something like that happens — I have just as many friends that are white in Boston that are embarrassed or angry about as I do friends that are black — but it rips the scab off."

Hear Thompson's full commentary below:

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