The Ukrainian Hockey League player who made a wildly offensive and racist gesture toward his Black opponent during a game last weekend has gotten off easy ... only being hit with a 3-game suspension for the vile act.
The UHL announced Andrei Deniskin's punishment on Wednesday ... saying in addition to the 3-game ban, the HC Kremenchuk player could also face an additional 10-game suspension as well.
The league, though, said Deniskin could pay a fine instead of serving the extra 10 games ... making the whole thing feel like nothing more than a slap on the wrist.
Хоккейный клуб «Донбасс» резко отрицает все формы дискриминации и возмущен поведением Андрея Денискина. Донецкий клуб отвергает любые расистские проявления - расизму не место ни на спортивных площадках, ни за их пределами 😠 pic.twitter.com/FhfXgw45Cu
The taunt was appalling ... and, in fact, Smereck was so offended by it, he said he would not play another game in the UHL unless Deniskin was booted from the league.
Officials attempted to explain Deniskin's punishment was not more severe due to an agreement between the country's hockey governing bodies.
"The matter was given to the @IIHFHockey of Ukraine’s Disciplinary Committee by the #UHL in accordance with a long-standing agreement between the Federation and the Ukrainian Hockey League," said Eugene Kolychev, the general manager of the UHL.
"The Ukrainian Hockey League and I stand with Jalen #Smereck and thank all of the fans and media who have offered their support to him. The @uhlua believes that there is no place for racism in the world in which we live, let along in the hockey community."
Smereck has yet to publicly comment on the ban ... but safe to say he'll be pretty pissed -- and rightfully so.