Berube attempts to clarify 'no comment' on Kadri, saying he didn't know of racist messages

Blues head coach Craig Berube comments on his “no comment” towards threats made against Nazem Kadri, says he was unaware of the racist comments because he's not on social media, but in no way is it acceptable for him to have to go through that.

Days after saying he had "no comment" when asked to weigh in on the racist messages and death threats directed at Nazem Kadri, St. Louis Blues head coach Craig Berube attempted to clarify his answer, explaining that he was unaware of the "the racist stuff" — though he acknowledged he did know of a threat.

"I just want to comment on my 'no comment' the other day," Berube said on Wednesday ahead of his pre-game availability. "I'm not on social media. I was aware of a threat made to Nazem, not the racist stuff, and in no way is it acceptable — by the St. Louis Blues or anybody else — for him to have to go through that."

Berube did not address why he was initially unwilling to denounce what Kadri had experienced, nor have the Blues, as an organization, issued a formal statement beyond Berube's comments at this time — even as the NHLPA condemned the "racist, hate-filled" comments Kadri endured on Tuesday.

Kadri, who is a Muslim of Lebanese descent, has been subjected to online vitriol during these playoffs since at least Game 3 of his Colorado Avalanche's series against the Blues, when his collision with Jordan Binnington resulted in an injury that might force the St. Louis goaltender to miss the rest of the series.

The ensuing messages directed at Kadri prompted the Avalanche to work with the St. Louis police department to investigate the callous discourse and strive to ensure Kadri's safety off the ice, employing enhanced security procedures at his hotel and at the Blues' arena ahead of Game 4.

“I guess someone had contacted them about some hateful messages and I was able to read those messages and they were very extreme,” Kadri said after Monday's game. “So, you know, I just tried to shake it off. They did a good job of assuring me and making me feel safe. I just had to worry about coming (to the rink) and showing up.”

On Tuesday, Kadri’s wife, Ashley, took to Instagram to share screenshots of racist messages their family had received over the preceding 48 hours, calling the collection of messages “just a small example” of the comments they’ve endured.“

"I wanted to shine light on what the last 48 hours has looked like for us as a family," she wrote. "This is just a small example. There are many more. This behaviour doesn’t belong in sports, or anywhere. If you are not condemning racism, then you are tolerating it."

Berube's reluctance to plainly denounce the threats and comments drew widespread criticism from around the hockey world. Akim Aliu, the chair and co-founder of the Hockey Diversity Alliance, lamented how the silence was "hockey culture at its finest," before drawing a parallel to Berube's history.

"Head Coach of a National Hockey League team has no comment on a fellow player receiving death threats and Islamophobic slurs," Aliu wrote on Twitter. "Same guy that called a black player a monkey as a player. No issues here, as you were."

In November 1997, while playing for the Washington Capitals, Berube called then-Florida Panthers forward Peter Worrell, who is Black, "a monkey" — a slur widely known to be racist. Berube later apologized to Worrell, who said he accepted the apology.

With his comments Wednesday, Berube sought to make clear he sympathized with Kadri.

"Being a Native American myself, I've heard it all, I've been around it," Berube said. "It's not a good thing. So, I just wanted to get that out there, there's no room for it anywhere."

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