Line Change: The Problem With Tony DeAngelo

Tony DeAngelo

The problem with Tony DeAngelo, is a problem the hockey world faces on a daily basis in locker rooms. Tony DeAngelo isn’t unique in his ubiquitous comments that scream racism, homophobia, and right wing fanaticism… he’s just not afraid to say them in public.

And that’s the problem with Tony DeAngelo. Well, truly the problem with Tony DeAngelo is he’s a racist and a bigot, who happens to be a talented hockey player.

Some will scream ‘cancel culture.’ AKA, the evil and hateful views and action of a person don’t matter as long as they can provide entertainment or boost capitalist endeavors.

But let’s get down to it. Tony DeAngelo is a conspiracy theory loving, fact denying, non-inclusive, bigot.

Tony DeAngelo with the OHL’s Sarnia Sting – Photo by Aaron Bell/ OHL Images

Let’s travel back. In one season in the OHL, DeAngelo was suspended twice for “contravening the rule which attempts to keep homophobic, racist, sexist, and the other derogatory language used by small minds – out of the game.

Follow that by his brazen support of Donald Trump…including the factually incorrect and unsubstantiated statement by Trump that he won the 2020 election, and COVID denying, a picture begins to be drawn.

Then there’s that infamous video of Anthony DeAngelo, Tony’s dad, stating that he uses racist slurs “every day, every day.”

Waiving Tony DeAngelo was long overdue. Had he been a few years older, he would have been dealt with like Mitchell Miller, professional hockey career ended before it could start. Being good at a game doesn’t supercede being a terrible person. It’s not cancel culture. It’s called firing an employee who regularly embarrasses your company by degrading the mere existence of other humans.

But let’s not put all of the glory on DeAngelo. He’s not alone on hockey’s racist pedestal. Remember Jordan Binnington, the goalie we all celebrated as an out of nowhere hero for the Stanley Cup champion St. Louis Blues. Racist. Xenophobe.

Or you could take the entire New York Rangers organization ignoring the racist comments directed at K’Andre Miller (and no, this is not in relation to the ‘stolen puck’ theory, which until it’s proven, we’ll leave it as theory).

Then we’ve got the misogyny of Brendan Leipsic and Jack Rodewald.

Don Cherry. Yuck.

The Vegas Golden Knights support white supremacy through Black Rifle Coffee.

Everything that happened to Akim Aliu, from Bill Peters to Steve Downie.

Chants of “basketball, basketball, basketball” toward Devante Smith-Pelly.

A banana hitting the ice thrown at Wayne Simmonds in London, Ontario.

The problem with Tony DeAngelo, is he’s a racist, and not afraid to say it.

The problem with Tony DeAngelo, is he’s not alone, and hockey culture hides it. It’s the system itself.

There is a power structure in place to turn bright, loving kids into something they were not born to be,” – Akim Aliu

In the world of hockey, nothing could ring truer. While teams and organizations are well underway in performative activism, the current is still pulling young players deeper into the chauvinist, LGBTQ+phobic, racist web of ‘hockey culture.’

As we now know, it’s not enough to not be racist, we also need to actively be anti-racist.

Otherwise, we will continue to perpetuate this multi-generational cycle of hate in hockey. It’s built into the systems of the game.

The problem with Tony DeAngelo, is there are thousands of Tony DeAngelo’s we never see or hear from publicly, but they torment marginalized people and players nonetheless.

For every vocal racist, there’s a thousand silent ones,” Akim Aliu.

The problem is, there are thousands of Tony DeAngelo’s.

Line Change is an article series produced by through the contributions of various authors, looking at social issues in sport. The series will focus on issues of inequality, and serve as a portion of our anti-oppression education and reporting. Line Change will look at issues related to racism, sexism, homophobia, transphobia, gender inequality, socioeconomic divides, and much more, as they relate to sport and athletics.

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