Buffalo Country Club Blocked Sabres Player For Being Black?
A prominent Western New York political figure brought back an eye-opening opening memory to many on social media.
Racism isn't a new issue, of course. Sadly, we are still battling issues that feel as though they should be long gone. Just look at the terrorist attack at the Tops on Jefferson Ave. in Buffalo last summer by a racist gunman from the Binghamton area. He came all the way here to target black people. It's disgusting. He recently plead guilty and will spend the rest of his life in jail.
Some believe that literal segregation and blatant discrimination based on the color of one's skin have gone away. They argue that no one is flat-out denying someone access to something based on their race, and if they do they are generally pointed out and dealt with publically and lawfully. It's not to say there are NEVER issues with this but since the 1960s it has improved. Certainly, by the 1990s it was far less of an issue. Especially in New York State and Buffalo... right?
Up until recently, hockey has not been a very diverse sport. The Buffalo Sabres have had several black players over the years. Val James was the first American black player to play in the NHL when he debuted for the Sabres. Other notable black players are Mike Grier, Rumun Ndur, and Evander Kane.
We also can never forget Goaltender Grant Fuhr.
Fuhr is a 5 time Stanley Cup Champion, all with Edmonton. He is enshrined in the Hockey Hall of Fame and is listed as one of the Top 100 players of all time. He was traded to Buffalo in 1993 and helped the Sabres finally beat the Boston Bruins in the 1st round of the NHL playoffs. We would play a couple of injury-plagued seasons for the Sabres before ultimately the greatest goaltender ever to play, Dominik Hasek, would take the job from him. Not a bad way to lose your gig.
While Fuhr was in Buffalo, however, there was some controversy. As local political figure Nate McMurray reminded Western New York of this weekend.
The country club denied that was the reason, as stated below from Wikipedia:
Club officials denied they rejected Fuhr based on his race; rather, his application contained "incorrect and incomplete" information. Various acts of vandalism at the club occurred after news of Fuhr's rejection surfaced, including an incident where vandals burned a swastika onto one of the greens. In light of the negative publicity, the club reversed its position and offered Fuhr not only a membership, but an apology as well. - Wikipedia
Fuhr ultimately rejected the membership.
A couple of thoughts:
1. It's Grant Fuhr. It's a Buffalo Sabre. There's your application. Done. You're telling me if, back then, Pat LaFontaine showed up wanting to belong there he needed to fill out paperwork? No. No, he didn't. That's garbage and we all know it. Even if he did, if it was wrong he would NEVER have been rejected.
2. OK let's give them the benefit of the doubt. The response by some was the burn Nazi crap onto the golf course. That's awful, cowardly, and disgraceful. It shows the worst of us and is disappointing that in 1993 it was still that prevalent.
Then again, here we are in almost 2023 and it's clearly still an issue, which is so sad.
Are you surprised this happened? Do you remember this?