Capitals Fan Says Team's Response Rings Hollow After His Experience Attending Game 3


NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) — Some fans of the Capitals say they had to put up with racist and homophobic remarks while attending Game 3 of Washington’s playoff series against the New York Islanders at Nassau Coliseum.

Nate Smith of Brooklyn made the claims in a blog post titled “Open Letter to the New York Islanders,” writing that it “was the worst experience I have had in 30 years of attending sporting events.” In addition to the abusive comments, Smith said his friend’s car was vandalized and one of the license plates was stolen, and alleged that security personnel treated them “as the enemy.”

“We are disappointed by the reported actions of a select group of fans that attended Game 3 on Sunday afternoon,” the Islanders said in a statement. “The alleged racist or homophobic remarks directed at several Washington Capitals fans are by no means associated with or supported by the New York Islanders organization. Islanders fans, who are made up of the best of the world’s melting pot, are some of the most respectful, passionate and knowledgeable in the NHL. The inappropriate actions of a few individuals does not represent Islanders fans as a whole. We expect our fans to continue to be the loudest and most respectful fans in the NHL.”

Smith told the New York Daily News that the team’s response was “absurd.”

“Obviously the actions of a few people don’t represent the entire organization but they don’t speak to the vandalism, or the security issues and they certainly didn’t apologize or reach out to us in any way,” he said. “The statement implies that we were upset about the comments from fans. Racist and homophobic remarks just speak to their ignorance. We were upset about the vandalism, throwing of beer and threats of violence.”

Smith said he was hoping the letter would spur the Islanders into beefing up security at Nassau Coliseum. The franchise is relocating to Brooklyn’s Barclays Center next season.

WFAN co-host Boomer Esiason, a die-hard Rangers fan and Long Island native, said he’s also been on the receiving end of “vile commentary” from bad apples at the Coliseum. But he said it’s a problem at arenas everywhere, not just New York.

“And reading about it, it’s just — it was horrendous,” Esiason said Tuesday morning. “I’m like, God, this is where I come from? … It comes down to middle-age men, maybe 24 to 35 to 40, who cannot control themselves and get caught up in this whole thing, and basically ruin it for other people.”

The Islanders hold a 2-1 advantage in the best-of-seven series. Game 4 is Tuesday night in Uniondale, N.Y.

Fans arrive for a game between the New York Islanders and Washington Capitals in Game 3 of the Eastern Conference quarterfinals at Nassau Veterans Memorial Coliseum on April 19, 2015 in Uniondale, New York. (Photo by Bruce Bennett/Getty Images)

Fans arrive for a game between the New York Islanders and Washington Capitals in Game 3 of the Eastern Conference quarterfinals at Nassau Veterans Memorial Coliseum on April 19, 2015 in Uniondale, New York. (Photo by Bruce Bennett/Getty Images)