Wings in-arena host Shawny Hill has apologized after making racist remarks about Georgia Swarm forward Lyle Thompson during Saturday night’s game at the Wells Fargo Center.
“Let’s snip the ponytail,” Hill said over the public address system during the Wings' loss. Thompson, who is of Iroquois descent and from the Onondaga Reservation in central New York, wrote on Twitter on Saturday night that fans began to yell at him, “saying they’re going to scalp me."
Thompson said on social media that he hadn’t heard those types of derogatory comments since he was in high school.
The Wings issued a statement saying that they are “deeply apologetic for the insensitive words” from Hill and that “the Wings do not tolerate discrimination of any sort.” They said they are taking “swift disciplinary and education measures" to ensure that something like that does not happen again.
Brendan Bomberry, Thompson’s teammate, said the atmosphere of the game was “overshadowed” by the comments.
“ ‘Let’s snip the braid’ was disgusting and a reality for my ancestors,” Bomberry, who is from the Six Nations reservation in Canada, tweeted.
The National Lacrosse League issued a statement, saying that “member clubs have a zero tolerance policy for any derogatory or discriminatory statements made.” The league office also said Hill’s comments were “inappropriate and the necessary disciplinary action will be taken swiftly.”
Hill also issued an apology on social media.
“My words were poorly chosen and were not intended as racially motivated,” he said. " ... My words do not reflect my personal beliefs, but represent a lack of knowledge on heritage and history."
Hill also said he hopes to directly apologize to Thompson and his brother, Miles, who also plays for the Swarm.