Red Wings prospect Givani Smith posted a Twitter message thanking fans for their support this morning…
Thank you everyone for all the tweets and messages, I appreciate you.
— Givani Smith (@givanismith24) May 7, 2018
And the CTV News Kitchener’s Ryan Flanagan posted a follow-up article discussing the threats levied at Smith with Kitchener Rangers GM Mike McKenzie:
“It pains me to say it, but it’s probably not the first time that he’s dealt with something like this,” McKenzie said in an interview.
The Rangers alerted league officials to the messages. OHL commissioner David Branch says the league was told about “comments that were concerning,” but not specifically about any racial overtones. Still, what the league heard was enough that they agreed to provide extra security for Smith on the trip to Sault Ste. Marie for Game 7 – something that, according to Branch, the league had never done before.
“We chose to add some security for the benefit of Givani and ensure, hopefully, that his well-being, his safety, was well-looked after,” Branch said.
It wasn’t the first time this season Smith had been on the receiving end of racial slurs. Some were yelled at him during a game in Sarnia, after a fan somehow gained access to the players’ area.
Sault Ste. Marie general manager Kyle Raftis also spoke out against the comments directed against Smith, saying they don’t reflect the values the Greyhounds hope to see from their fans.
“You don’t want to see any person have to go through that,” he said. “There’s definitely a line that was crossed through social media.”
Smith’s agent, G.P. Daniele, told CTV News that his client was “incredibly humbled by the support received.”
“Givani respectfully asks for privacy, as he and his family wish to move on from the incident,” Daniele said in an email.