Earlier today, Latino Rebels received an email from Alex Martínez, a founding member of the Chicago Bulldogs men’s hockey team. In the email, Martinez shared two links from the Bulldogs site. The first one (full story here) reported that on “February 10th, 2015, Bob Moretti who plays for the Ice Bison at the Fox Valley Ice Arena mens league was thrown out of a game during a game against the Chicago Bulldogs where he admittedly made racial insults to one of our players in front of his teammates, opposing players and on ice officials.”
The initial Bulldogs story linked to a March 30 apology letter Moretti addressed to Martínez:
According to Martínez, Moretti made racial slurs against the Bulldogs’ two Latino players. Martínez also shared more via his email to Latino Rebels:
I can tell you that this started with the offender Bob Moretti of a team called the Ice Bisons, who play in the same men’s league we play in. Moretti has been calling one of my teammates, Rudy Villarreal, who is of Mexican descent, racial slurs for almost a year. It’s not until the offender in front of players and referees’ called me a “F*ck*ng Mexican Sp*c” during a game that everyone was shocked. The refs did not know what to do. Moretti was thrown out of the game. When I approached the league about this, they only gave him a 2-game suspension. To be honest, I thought this was dead issue.
Then, Martínez said, the Bulldogs published its first story about the Moretti incident. That first story, according to Martínez, “infuriated the new league commissioner named Jack Wood, the Hockey Director for the Fox Valley Ice Arena where we play.” Martínez said that Wood wanted the Bulldogs to take the story down from the team’s site.
[Wood] brought me in for a meeting, told me that unless we bring the story down, the team faces being never to be invited to play at their facility again. I refused, as it’s my right to post what I want and I was stating only facts in the Bulldogs article.
After the season ended, [Wood] brought me in another meeting, told me that I was not allowed to participate in their league games because I was a pest to him, but that my team was invited to play without me.
That decision by Wood led the entire Bulldogs team to write an official response supporting Martínez and saying that the Bulldogs did not kick Martínez off their team. Here is an excerpt of that response:
Running a men’s league team is not easy. It’s a burden and the responsibility that many simply do not want to be a part of. Teams come and go because of not just dealing with multiple personalities on the team, but making sure the players show up to games, follow the rules, be on the receiving end of hearings with suspensions, collect money from players, sponsors and not to mention any other extra little things that can put a person’s reputation on the line when the team does take care of its business.
That letter should have been addressed to Alex Martínez about the inability of sponsors to pay on time or even worse players on our very own team paying late or not paying at all. There are countless emails, text’s Facebook postings on a daily basis from Alex Martínez addressing this very issue to our team to make sure that we take care of our financial obligations. If anything, Alex Martinez should be congratulated and thanked for making sure that our bill as a team was taken care of from his very own pocket. Yes it’s a burden that nobody wants, but instead you made an example of him because he did not cave in to your demands on an article he took responsibility for after your friend Bob Moretti by his own admission made hateful racial slurs to Alex Martínez back in February of this year during a game. The league and game officials did NOT move forward with the proper protocol per the AHAI Rule 126.96.36.199 and report the incident to AHAI, instead the matter was handled in-house and you decided to make an example of our teammate for being a nuisance and venting his frustration in a manner, which is his God-given right to do so.
The Bulldogs’ response ended with this:
So our answer to you, Jack, in regards to the email you sent our team about our return to “Your League” as you state it, is NO. You either accept us all as a team “as is” which is a team made different personalities, cultures, ethnicities and color or we can take our $12,800 per year, that is spent playing in “Your League” and take it elsewhere.
Martínez also added more thoughts about the entire incident:
To be honest, it does bother me that this guy names Bob Moretti attacked me verbally, but what bothers me more is that this guy is active coach in the hockey community. He mentors kids of all ages and for him to be very comfortable in making hateful racial slurs during a game and in the manner that is was done bothers me the most. Racism in hockey exists, but nobody likes to talk about it. The good ol’ boys like Jack Wood protect their image by doing exactly what they did, by either telling you to shut up or pay the consequences.
I also want to add that as a Mexican American I have been playing hockey for almost 15 years. I love this great game, and it’s bigoted people who continue to live in the past who ruin the sport and it’s these same people who I will plant the seed of their way of thinking in our youth players of the future.
Emails requesting comment from Wood and other members of the Fox Valley Ice Arena have yet to be returned.
According to the Bulldogs website, the team has been around since 1998, when “Martínez (who played goalie for several teams playing at the Odium and Orbit Skate Center) had had enough of playing for un-organized and poorly managed teams. Although winning the League Championship with the Ave’s in 1998, Martinez rolled the dice and started looking for players and built a roster.”