Andrei Deniskin is facing disciplinary action from the Ukrainian Hockey League after footage showed him making a disgusting racist gesture toward Black American defenseman Jalen Smereck of HC Donbass.
In the second period of their game on Sunday, Deniskin shouted at Smereck and then could be seen mocking the unpeeling of a banana and eating it.
The UHL said that disciplinary proceedings will be opened against Deniskin, adding that his behavior “is unacceptable within the framework of a civilized society.”
Donbass said in a statement that it “strongly denies all forms of discrimination” and that “racism has no place” in sports of society.
Deniskin has since taken to Instagram and apologized, saying it was “a gesture that someone can consider as an insult in race,” that his emotions got the best of him, and that “I respect all people regardless of their race or nationality.”