KKK Picture Sent to Hockey Team Group Chat With One Black Player Sparks Probe

An investigation has been launched after a youth hockey player in Massachusetts reportedly sent a picture of people in Ku Klux Klan hoods and robes to a team group chat.

Laquan Mongo, a 12-year-old who plays for Crimson Hockey Club East, told WCVB one of his teammates had sent the image to the group chat after a game on Sunday.

Mongo, the only Black player in the group, said he was left shaken by the photo. "I felt scared and sad because I'm the only Black kid on the team," he told the TV station.

His mother Natasha Lassiter added: "It brought tears to my eyes. I was mortified because he's a kid and the other kid's a kid. They're kids. They're just kids. They don't deserve any of this."

She could not immediately be reached for further comment.

Crimson Hockey Club East is part of the Eastern Hockey Federation, a youth hockey league in New England.

The federation's commissioner of business operations, David Turk, told WCVB that the player who had sent the image was no longer a member of the hockey club or the league.

In an email to Newsweek, Turk said: "We are not investigating the incident, as per USA Hockey rules. The Crimson Hockey club passed along the information to the U.S. Center for SafeSport and USA Hockey National Office to investigate the incident.

"The league will follow whatever decision they come to."

Newsweek has contacted Massachusetts Hockey—an affiliate of USA Hockey—and the U.S. Center for SafeSport for comment.

The incident comes less than two weeks after an Oregon school district launched an investigation into a student's online comments about "auctioning off Black classmates." A student at Newberg High School posted photos online that showed one of their classmates was involved in a Snapchat group named "Slave Trade."

Late last month, a video surfaced on Instagram showing white students from Salinas High School in California abusing a Black baby doll named "Shaniqua" shortly before a football game on campus.

At the time, Suni Smith, a member of the African American Advisory Committee for the Salinas Union High School District, urged parents to have conversations with their children to prevent such incidents.

"Yes, it's tough to have these conversations with your babies, I get it, but you have to have these conversations to avoid them putting themselves in situations like this because if you don't, it's going to keep happening," Smith said.

Update 9/23/21, 11:45 a.m. ET: This article was updated to add a comment from David Turk.

A man holds an anti-Ku Klux Klan
A man holds an anti-Ku Klux Klan placard during a protest on April 11 in Huntington Beach, California. A youth hockey league in Massachusetts is investigating after a player reportedly sent KKK imagery to a team group chat. Apu Gomes/Getty Images