Players of ECHL's Icemen release statement of support for former player Jacob Panetta
'[We] know the man he really is,' say former teammates of 26-year-old blueliner
Former teammates of recently-released Jacksonville Icemen defenceman Jacob Panetta published a statement Friday as a show of support for the 26-year-old after he was suspended indefinitely by the ECHL and released by the team.
Panetta was seen making an apparent racist gesture at South Carolina Stingrays defenceman Jordan Subban in a game on Saturday.
The message, titled "Official Players' Statement" and shared by Icemen forward Derek Lodermeier, was relayed Friday with the team's logo but not shared by the organization.
The players supported the notion Panetta shared on his own Twitter account on Sunday that his actions were not racially motivated.
The Icemen players also expressed displeasure with the supposed portrayal of the Belleville, Ont., native since his suspension and release.
"Jacob has been portrayed and put into an unimaginable position by the league, media, our organization, as well as others," the statement said. "As his teammates and for those who know him, [we] know the man he really is. We also know that as a hockey player and more importantly as a person [he] does not deserve this."
The Icemen have not yet addressed the statement publicly.
WATCH | Icemen release Panetta following on-ice incident with Stingrays' Subban: