UPDATE (Mar 12 2019, 1:23 PM ET): NHL confirms that Morgan Rielly of the Toronto Maple Leafs did not use a homophobic slur Monday night's game.
A Toronto Maple Leafs forward is in hot water. The NHL announced on Tuesday that it was launching an investigation into a “homophobic slur” used by a Toronto Maple Leafs player which was reportedly uttered during Monday's heated game against Tampa Bay on Monday evening. The Leafs ended up losing the game 6-2 and were buried in the trenches of the brutal game when the remark was caught on a hot mic.
According to a report by Sports Illustrated, Toronto forward Morgan Rielly was the player who uttered the remark. Reilly’s heated exchange with a referee during the game’s second period was supposedly captured on an active microphone. In the audio, it appears that the forward calls the referee a “f-cking f-ggot” before skating away.
In reaction to the controversy surrounding the remark, Toronto Maple Leafs General Manager Kyler Dubas released this statement:
"The Club is aware of the reports surrounding a homophobic slur used during the Maple Leafs versus Lighting game on Monday night," Dubas stated according to NHL.com. "The issue of homophobia is one the Toronto Maple Leaf Hockey Club strongly condemns and takes very seriously. We are in communication with the NHL and are cooperating fully with their office.”
Here's what some Leafs fans have to say on the matter:
In light of Morgan Rielly's game tonight, a recent history of NHL's inconsistent handlings re: reactions when a player yells a homophobic on the ice:— cole (@historiancole) March 12, 2019
Simmonds, 2011: no punishment
Shaw, 2016: one playoff game suspension
Getzlaf, 2017: $10,000 fine
Morgan Rielly probably feels awful about what he said. By all accounts he’s a stand up person. This is, regardless, completely unacceptable. He should and likely will be reprimanded by the team and league. He’s made victims of his fans and it sucks. Be better.— Jake (@jakebeleafs) March 12, 2019
As someone who is pansexual, I do not believe that Morgan Rielly is homophobic by any means. I think he made a horrible choice of words after a poor non-call. #LeafsForever— Noah Geopfert (@NoahGeopfert) March 12, 2019
Unfortunately, incidents like this are known to happen in the NHL. Ryan Getzlaf, who is currently serving as captain of the Ducks, faced a fine of $10,000 after he made a similar remark during a 2017 playoff game against the Predators.
Andrew Shaw of the Blackhawks shouted a homophobic slur after being put into the penalty box during a playoff game in 2016. He was suspended during a subsequent game for his actions.
The accusations levelled against Rielly are certainly disappointing. The player entered the NHL back in 2013 and currently has 49 career goals and 187 assists.