‘Unacceptable in a civilized society’: Ukraine star apologizes for racist ‘banana-eating’ gesture, faces disciplinary rap (VIDEO)

The Ukrainian Hockey League has promised disciplinary action after a player was sent off for making a shocking gesture during a game that appeared to imagine a black opponent peeling a banana and eating it.

Kremenchuk forward Andrei Deniskin was caught on camera making the bizarre taunt towards new Donbass Donetsk signing Jalen Smereck, clearly mimicking the act while looking at the American in the 36th minute of a league game.

The 23-year-old was sent off and the league has warned that extra sanctions are planned for the Ukraine international following the troubling incident.

Despite the disgraceful footage, Deniskin insisted afterwards that he does not discriminate against people.

“During the match, I, being of negative emotions, displayed a gesture that could be considered as an insult [relating to] race,” he said (via translation), offering a public apology to Smereck.

“I respect all people regardless of their race or nationality. Emotions in hockey, unfortunately, are different.”

In a statement, Donbass condemned “all forms of discrimination” and said they were “outraged by the behavior” of Deniskin.

“[We reject] any racist manifestations – racism has no place either in sports grounds or outside of them,” they added.

“We will do our best to support our hockey player. At the same time, we call on the Disciplinary Committee to [apply] the strictest possible punishment to the Kremenchuk player.”

The league’s website said: “Such behavior of hockey players on the court is unacceptable within the framework of a civilized society.

“It should be noted that disciplinary proceedings will be opened against the player of Kremenchuk.”

The shameful episode is the second racist provocation to be filmed in a professional hockey match in little more than a month.

In August, forward Stas Petrosyan was fined by his club, Torpedo Ust-Kamenogorsk, when he was seen using his hand to make a slant-eyed gesture at Chinese player Hu Yan during a match in the President’s Cup of the Republic of Kazakhstan.

Deniskin opened the scoring in the first period as part of a 3-2 win for his team at Kremenchuk.

24-year-old Smereck joined Donbass from American Hockey League team Tucson Roadrunners earlier this year.

The Detroit-born star is playing outside of the US or Canada for the first time in his career.

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Russian hockey player denies he is a racist after being fined, condemned by team for slant-eyed gesture at Chinese player (VIDEO)

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