Ryan Laplante’s late apology
Ryan ‘Protential’ Laplante has publicly apologized for using ‘the N-word’ in historic forum posts, the popular poker pro himself called out this week after accusing a fellow player of using homophobic language.
7 years ago, in a fit of rage on 2+2 forums, I called someone the N word.
It is something that should never be used in any context.
I am extremely sorry for how I acted and my use of that word. It is something I am deeply ashamed of.
— Ryan Laplante🏳️🌈 (@Protentialmn) July 27, 2020
One of the few openly gay male poker players, Ryan Laplante has often been described as a ‘Social Justice Warrior’ – the tag SJW given to left-wing opponents of all forms of oppression and bigotry.
This week the poker community ‘policeman’ version of Laplantetook exception to TwitchTV streamer and ACR-sponsored pro Robert ‘pokerguru740’ Kuhn and his use of the word “faggot” during a stream.
The issue with this argument, is that he said a word as bad as any, which has deeply bigoted connotation in the context he used it.
Is on a 5 min delay, and still aired it.
Also has used it multiple times before on stream.
The apology means very little, in that context.
— Ryan Laplante🏳️🌈 (@Protentialmn) July 27, 2020
As fans of Kuhn leaped to his defense, others were looking for some ammunition to use against Laplante. It didn’t take long to find some – Shaun Deeb digging up a 2plus2 post from 2010 that used incredibly offensive racist language…
Laplante, at the time 21-years old, claimed it wasn’t aimed at black people, an equally or even more offensive follow-up a supposed explanation…
Laplante’s official statement
With those posts made public and gathering interesting across the poker community, Laplante released his apology today, the full statement reading:
‘7 years ago, in a fit of rage on 2+2 forums, I called someone the N-word.
My reasons for doing and my intent in it are irrelevant, it is something that should never be used in any context, and it was deeply wrong for me to do so.
I’ve tried my best to make amends for that use, but I know that I will regret my use of that language for the rest of my life.
I’m not posting this to lessen the impact that I used it.
This post is simply an apology to everyone who has ever been discriminated against, especially those who have faced hate due to racism.
I am extremely sorry for how I acted and my use of that word. It is something I am deeply ashamed of doing.’
It came as a huge shock to friends, fans, and followers of a player considered to be ‘squeaky-clean’ by many, and a role model for others in ‘minority’ groups within poker.
Fuck, man. I was really hoping this was a misunderstanding of some kind and it wasn't you.
Also FWIW, the racism is not the only deeply concerning thing about that post by a long shot. But you know that.
— Matt Hunt (@MentalHthGaming) July 28, 2020
You made it very clear once @pokerguru740 let his comments hit the stream (since he was on delay) he meant it in some way. Gross to see this coming from someone who I respected in the poker world who holds so many people (correctly) to a higher standard.
— Nicholas Aguilera (@nickaguilera12) July 28, 2020
This weekend I was put in a situation that I didn’t deserve. This video only shows part of the story @ChinookWinds please know I will never ate foot in your establishment again. Your security and management are a joke. pic.twitter.com/gJIpuRSrpo
— Will Butler (@WButler__) February 25, 2020
…while record-holding WSOP Circuit champion Maurice Hawkins had a high-profile encounter with a racist player at the 2018 WSOP in Vegas. Again the N-word was involved, Italian player Sorin Lovin rightly DQd and frog-marched from the venue.
Update on on the Racist guy from the WSOP.Jack Effel just showed America how to deal with Racism, and that’s Zero tolerance. I am proud to play in @Wsop and be apart of their brand. (Thankyou) He Perped walked the racist guy out of the Tournament Area and DQ”ed him.#HawksView
— Maurice Hawkins (@mauricehawkins) July 6, 2018
Daniel Negreanu has also found himself in hot water with regard to racism, his ‘blackface’ routine considered extremely offensive.
The Canadian pro has explained his views several times, though has yet to actually apologize.
So that video was 20 years ago and I have addressed it a few times.
Sorry seeing that bothered you. I grew up with predominantly Jamaican friends and always admired the culture.
I would never do that now since I have a better understanding of the history.
— Daniel Negreanu (@RealKidPoker) July 28, 2020
…and broached the subject again in his most recent WSOP 202 stream, although this time on YouTube as his Twitch account has been banned due to recent outbursts.
Whether Laplante, Kuhn, Negreanu, or any other pro will lose sponsorships due to the recent spate of ‘cancel culture’ incidents in poker remains to be seen. The debate over what is and isn’t acceptable, however, will go on.
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