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Winter Olympics features diversity in broadcast booth too

William Douglas, McClatchy Washington Bureau on

Published in Olympics

The parody hit Carter's funny bone, but then it quickly hit home.

"I loved it, I thought it was funny," Carter said. "But at the same time, there are enough black people out there who know the game of hockey that you're like, 'Can we actually move past this point?' There's a lot more knowledgeable black fans out there than we get credit for.'"

Carter knows hockey from experience. He tallied 202 goals and 219 assists in 674 games over 11 seasons with the Washington Capitals, Boston Bruins, Edmonton Oilers, Vancouver Canucks, New York Rangers, Los Angeles Kings, Columbus Blue Jackets and Carolina Hurricanes.

Now he's part of a small but growing group of black hockey analysts and broadcasters on national and local airwaves.

Kevin Weekes, a former NHL goaltender, mans the analyst's desk on the NHL Network while David Amber co-hosts the late Saturday game on "Hockey Night in Canada," that nation's equivalent of "Monday Night Football" in terms of viewer popularity.

Tarik El-Bashir provides sideline and studio insights during Capitals broadcasts, where he's sometimes joined by Carter. Everett Fitzhugh is the voice of the minor league Cincinnati Cyclones of the ECHL.

Carter hopes his Winter Olympics work and the participation of 10 African Americans on the U.S. team along with black athletes from Jamaica, Nigeria, Ghana and other nations will help put the myth about blacks and winter sports to rest.

While some hail the increased presence of black athletes at the Winter Games as a milestone, they also caution that the numbers are still small since that more than 2,900 athletes are competing in Pyeongchang.

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"As the percentage of the total team, I would think that's still, as they would say in a university setting or research setting, statistically insignificant," said Richard Lapchick, director of the Institute for Diversity and Ethics in Sport at the University of Central Florida.

Carter disagreed.

"You've got to start somewhere, right?" he said. "You can't all of sudden jump in and be a majority. It takes time."

(c)2018 McClatchy Washington Bureau

Visit the McClatchy Washington Bureau at www.mcclatchydc.com

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