Joel Ward on handling racial slurs: 'I know what I signed up for'

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Joel Ward admitted his life has been a “circus” the past couple of days. Not only did the right wing score the series clinching goal for the Washington Capitals in overtime of Game 7, but he became a national story after some fans on the Internet described him with racist slurs on Wednesday night.

Ward’s reaction was simple: not to let it bother him.

“It’s a few people that just made a couple of terrible comments, but what can you do?” he said Friday. “I know what I signed up for. I’m a black guy playing a predominantly white sport. It’s just going to come with the territory. I’d feel naive or foolish to think that it doesn’t exist. It is what it is and it’s going to be part of here and part of life.”

The 31-year-old whose goal was his first with a goaltender in the net since Jan. 7 called the support from teammates, the Bruins and fans from Boston to Nashville to Washington “overwhelming.”

“I’m just trying to embrace it as best I can,” he said. “ I was blown away by the amount of people and amount of support for sure.”

Ward seemed to accept that race is a factor even when it shouldn’t be.

“Obviously the battle I think will always be there,” he said, “and it was just one of those instances that’s just a topic that will always exist.”

But, as far as the good coming from this controversy, that’s all about hockey.

“We won. That was the main thing for me. It is what it is for me,” Ward said. “The good out of it is that we get to move on and keep playing.”

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