Khalif Mitchell, an all-star defensive tackle for the B.C. Lions of the Canadian Football League, was fined by the league Wednesday and suspended by his team for using a racial slur on Twitter. Mitchell had been suspended before for conduct on the field.
The 27-year-old, who is black, used a word known as a derogatory slur against persons of Chinese extraction. B.C., and the city of Vancouver where the team plays, has had a large population of persons of Chinese ethnicity since its inception and they continue to make up a large percentage of the province's population.
Mitchell, who is American, made the racial slur while twittering about Tuesday evening's U.S. Presidential debate . Here is Khalif Mitchell's tweet: "My teammate said who I think Won the debate. I said the American Ppl. Cause if they watched carefully BOTH OF THEM Hide Money with the Chinks."
Mitchell: Unaware of racial overtones
Upon hearing of the fallout from his tweet, Mitchell said he hadn't been aware the word 'chinks' was a racial slur and pointed out that his personal trainer was ethnically Chinese. Nevertheless the CFL fined Mitchell an undisclosed amount for an inappropriate and racially insensitive comment. Earlier this season, Mitchell was suspended two games for injuring a player's elbow by bending it backwards and fined for making a throat-slashing gesture on the field.
The B.C. Lions, last year's Grey Cup champs, suspended the player for one game for his social media indiscretion. "Despite his public expression of remorse, we believe this is the best course of action for our organization at this time," Lions president Dennis Skulsky said in a statement "Let me state very clearly on behalf of our entire organization that Khalif’s message was completely inappropriate and we apologize to anyone who was offended by it.”
Apology from Khalif Mitchell`
Mitchell, a self-taught piano player and one of the more friendly players in the CFL, and one of the league's better quotes, issued an apology. "I made a comment, and it wasn't right," he wrote in a statement. "I want to apologize. The comments that I made were done from unknown knowledge. I want to apologize to everyone out there who may have been offended, on behalf of me, my team and my organization."
Even the Premier of British Columbia, Christy Clark, was dragged into the affair when she was asked about it at an unrelated news conference. Clark called Mitchell's tweet "stupid" and "dumb."
Mitchell will miss Friday night's game against the Edmonton Eskimos.