Gene Smith, the athletic director for Ohio State University, has issued a formal apology to a Michigan State hockey player ... after a Buckeyes forward was accused of hurling racial slurs at the man during a game earlier this month.
According to Spartans forward Jagger Joshua, who is Black, the racist incidents happened on Nov. 11 -- when OSU visited East Lansing and lost 4-3.
Joshua did not reveal specifically what was said to him on the ice, but he did note in a Twitter post on Monday that he was livid over "the inaction" taken by Ohio State and the Big Ten in wake of the racial abuse.
"Acts of racism do not belong in hockey, as they can discourage African Americans and minorities like myself from playing and loving the game," Joshua said in his social media post. "Inaction in the face of racist comments and actions allow these behaviors to continue."
Late Tuesday night, Smith apologized to Joshua over it all in a lengthy statement ... and said the player who was accused of using the slurs, Kamil Sadlocha, "is returning home and will not practice or compete at this time."
"On behalf of Ohio State University, I am so sorry," Smith said. "No student or student-athlete should experience hatred or racism, and everyone should feel welcome."
"I have spoken with Michigan State athletic director Alan Haller, and I'm thankful Jagger is getting the support he needs."
In his statement, Smith said he has met with the OSU hockey team and will meet with them again over the incident. He promised that players "will complete education on racial sensitivity, diversity, equity, inclusion, and the use of respectful dialog."
"The department and I will support them through this important process," he added.