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  • Tuesday, January 4, 2000

    Prospal accused of racial slur

    VACLAV PROSPAL
    Ottawa Senators' Vaclav Prospal
     MONTREAL (AP) -- Patrice Brisebois of the Montreal Canadiens accused Vaclav Prospal of the Ottawa Senators of making an ethnic slur during a game last month and intends to file a complaint with the NHL.

    Prospal apologized today to all French-Canadians, but not to Brisebois. The Czech player said he was unaware of the connotations of his remark.
     
     Brisebois, who is French-Canadian, said Prospal called him a "frog" during a 4-4 tie in Ottawa on Dec. 27. He said the slur was preceded by an obscenity.
     
     "The linesman, Ray Scapinello, was right next to Prospal and he heard it," Brisebois said. "It's been two years since I've been the target of verbal abuse like that. This has been discussed by the players' association and the league. We don't want that in our league."
     
     Brisebois said he was surprised at the comment because Ottawa coach Jacques Martin is French-Canadian. Prospal is Czech.
     
     "I'm proud to be a Quebecer and I won't accept this kind of thing," Brisebois said.
     
     Prospal, in Raleigh, N.C., for Ottawa's game against the Carolina Hurricanes tonight, said he and Brisebois have a history of clashes.
     
     "Why did it take him five or seven days to bring this up?" Prospal said. "I've been called way worse than that before. ... For the seven years I have been in America, what I learned was every time you make fun of French guys or something you would say that. I guess I really didn't understand that was a racial comment."
     
     Brisebois said he wanted to speak about what happened sooner, but he was sidelined with the flu and then was away again while his wife had a baby.
     
     He said Prospal made the remark in the second period after Brisebois cross-checked him. There was no mention of a slur in the officials' postgame report.
     
     Brisebois said a league representative visited all 28 clubs a month ago to inform players the NHL won't tolerate players making reference to opponents' race, family, language or sexual orientation.
     
     In 1997, Washington Capitals forwards Chris Simon and Craig Berube were suspended for remarks made to black opponents. Last season, Bryan Marchment of San Jose was accused of making a racist slur to Vancouver's Donald Brashear, who is black. Marchment was suspended one game.
     
     The NHL did not return a call today, and it is not clear if Brisebois filed a complaint.



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