College Hockey:
Nebraska-Omaha dismisses two, suspends one after incident allegedly involving racial slurs

Nebraska-Omaha dismissed two players and suspended a third after all three were ticketed for suspicion of disorderly conduct following an incident in which they allegedly used racial slurs.

Preston Hodge and Matt White were removed from the team and had their scholarships removed, UNO athletic director Trev Alberts said in a news release Friday.

Alex Simonson was suspended pending further investigation into the incident, which occurred in the early morning hours of Aug. 3 in Omaha’s Old Market neighborhood.

The Omaha World-Herald reported that witnesses told Omaha police that Hodge, White and Simonson were harassing a group of African-Americans with racial slurs.

Hodge allegedly pushed Lamar Triplett, who told police he responded by hitting Hodge, knocking him to the ground, the newspaper reported.

White threw a punch at Triplett but missed, according to police, and Simonson pushed members of Triplett’s group.

The Nebraska-Omaha athletic department was unaware of the incident until contacted Thursday by the World-Herald.

Alberts’ statement read:

“Late Thursday afternoon, the UNO athletic department was made aware of an incident early in the morning of August 3 involving Preston Hodge, Matt White and Alex Simonson, members of the UNO hockey team. After an internal investigation which included a discussion with the Omaha Police Department, Preston Hodge and Matt White have been dismissed from the UNO hockey team and are no longer on scholarship. In addition, Alex Simonson has been suspended pending further investigation by the athletic department. We are extremely disappointed in the actions of these students; we will not tolerate any misconduct of this nature. We will continue to work diligently to ensure our student athletes understand the importance of tolerance and respect for others.”

White, a forward from Whittier, Calif., was fourth on the team in scoring (34 points) and third in goals (16) as a junior last season.

Simonson, a forward from Grand Forks, N.D., appeared in 18 games as a junior, posting two assists.

Hodge, from Bloomington, Ill., was an incoming freshman defenseman.

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  • hockeyman41

    Getting your scholarship revoked while getting kicked off of a D-1 hockey team. That is one harsh penalty considering they were ticketed for “suspicion” of disorderly conduct. I don’t know what happened but what if they were not the aggressors ? Never like to see this stuff but they have not been convicted of anything. Does Omaha have it’s own set of due process rules?
    “Witnesses told police…” Hmmm. Rings of hearsay. It worries me that Hodge got the worst of Triplett then got thrown out of school.
    White didn’t hit anybody although the police (who did not see anything but were told by witnesses) said he threw a punch at Triplett and missed.
    These guys need to be reinstated and given a chance to defend themselves. I an NOT a UNO fan but this story reeks of a jump to conclusions and a serious due process violation for all three.

    • gogofs

      hockeyman, why jump to the conclusion that no investigation was done, when the story clearly states it was? I’m guessing the guys admitted they broke team rules, and the school did what they should.

    • Arcturus43

      I’m sure an investigation was done, but I too am a little concerned at the face of things seeing how no one has been charged with anything and yet it was enough to get them kicked out of school. I do not condone racism in any form, but given the media driven hysteria surrounding the Zimmerman/Martin trial, and the way it was portrayed to be an issue of race when that wasn’t the case at all, it may be fueling overreactions from institutions like universities that depend on grants from charitable foundations, and in a case such as this top administrators have chosen to send a message to big donors in the various foundations that UNO is towing the “politically correct” line when it comes to the new hate speech, with it’s zero tolerance policy, in order to send a message to everyone as to what is acceptable behavior and what isn’t. Although I wasn’t part of the investigation, on face value it would appear as though perhaps the punishment did not fit the “crime”, but however cruel the repercussions may appear for this case I have a feeling similar incidents involving hate speech will have consequences that are as severe will seem less unusual as people adapt to the “new normal.”

      • hockeyman41

        I agree with your logic 100% and I too am troubled that the school overreacted. I wonder what would have happened if one (or more) of the UNO players were African-American and they used “racial slurs” directed at another African-American. This happens everyday without incident.
        To be clear, I hate racism. I equally hate a violation of due process rights of anyone who lives in the USA. Sometimes people make mistakes. The alleged violation as described in this article reeks of a punishment far too harsh based on the stated facts. If they do not have a history of this type of alleged behavior, give the violators significant community service and perhaps require them to attend race sensitivity classes. Throwing them out of school is not a good solution. It helps no one.

  • Hussar

    If these students had burned the American flag as symbol of protest then they would be extolled for exercising their rights of freedom of expression under the 1st Admendment. If they call someone a name, they are thrown out of college.

    I have been called some pretty rude names in French during my former playing days, but never thought my Canadian opponents racists nor would I want their lives turned upside down for making sport of my background and ethnic heritage.

    I guess this is what happens when hockey becomes poltically correct and the adage ” sticks and stones may break my bones, but names will never hurt” me is thrown to wayside.
    Sure wish we could get back to politcally incorrect “old time hockey.”

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