Russian hockey player denies he is a racist after being fined, condemned by team for slant-eyed gesture at Chinese player (VIDEO)
A hockey star has insisted he is not racist but has apologized for an "unacceptable" gesture after being punished by his team for taunting a Chinese player following a huge fight during a match.
Torpedo Ust-Kamenogorsk were playing Beijing-based Kunlun in the President's Cup of the Republic of Kazakhstan when an ugly ruck took place, sending a throng of players to the ice as the beefy rival players scrapped with each other.
In the aftermath, Torpedo forward Stas Petrosyan could be seen using his hand to make a slant-eyed gesture at Kunlun's Hu Yan – a racist insult that has caused uproar when it has been directed at Asian players in the past.
Hu Yan appeared to respond with a 'crying' gesture that mocked Petrosyan's loss of control.
Issuing a statement saying they had fined the 21-year-old Russian, Torpedo opposed "any manifestation of racism, racial discrimination, xenophobia and related intolerance" and called the gesture "indecent".
"On behalf of the club, we apologize to the Kunlun Hockey Club – and personally to Hu Yan – for the incident at [the] match," it said.
"The club's management fined Stas Petrosyan for behavior that violates ethical norms and held an educational conversation with him.
"There can be no excuse for insulting people based on color and race. Such behavior is unacceptable in the sports community, where respect for opponents and a fair contest remain the main principles.
"Torpedo is an international team in which people of different nationalities and religions live, work and strive for great victories.
"We are confident that only by respecting our rivals and not making distinctions based on ethnicity or religion, we can achieve success."
Petrosyan added that the gesture was driven by "emotions as a result of the scuffle" at a time when his side was 2-0 down.
“I sincerely regret what happened," he said. "I have never divided people by ethnicity and race.
"Such a gesture on my part is unacceptable. I would like to offer my personal apologies to the Kunlun Red Star Club and personally to Hu Yan for this incident."
Serbian volleyball player Sanja Djurdjevic was banned for two matches for making a similar gesture at a Thai player earlier this year, leading to the Volleyball Federation of Serbia being fined more than $22,000.Also on rt.com ‘She didn't mean disrespect’: Serbia volleyball ace banned for racist eye gesture towards Thai opponents that caused fury (VIDEO)