Chicago Blackhawks forward Andrew Shaw was suspended for one game, fined $5,000 and ordered to undergo sensitivity training by the NHL on Wednesday, one day after being caught on video mouthing a homophobic slur and making an obscene gesture to the officials.
Shaw apologized for his remarks and gesture on Wednesday in a statement released by himself and the Blackhawks. He also apologized in person while meeting with Chicago media.
“While Mr. Shaw was apologetic and remorseful for both the offensive comments and the inappropriate gesture directed at the on-ice officials, he must be held accountable for his actions,” NHL Senior Executive Vice President of Hockey Operations Colin Campbell said. “The emotion of the moment cannot and will not be a mitigating factor for the conduct that is expected of an NHL player.”
In his personal apology to the media, Shaw said he would never use the word again.
While Mr. Shaw was apologetic and remorseful for both the offensive comments and the inappropriate gesture directed at the on-ice officials, he must be held accountable for his actions The emotion of the moment cannot and will not be a mitigating factor for the conduct that is expected of an NHL player.
NHL Senior Executive Vice President of Hockey Operations Colin Campbell
“I wanted to apologize for my actions,” Shaw told the Chicago Tribune. “I have no excuses for anything. I want to apologize to the gay and lesbian community. That’s not the type of guy I am. This is hard for me. I saw the video (Tuesday night) and I had a tough time sleeping. What’s gotten to me is I let my emotions get the better of me. I want to apologize to the organization, the NHL, my teammates, my family and my friends. Obviously I’m sorry. It’s a tough time for me right now.”
In a statement released by the team Wednesday, Shaw said:
“I am sincerely sorry for the insensitive remarks that I made last night while in the penalty box. When I got home and saw the video, it was evident that what I did was wrong, no matter the circumstances. I apologize to many people, including the gay and lesbian community, the Chicago Blackhawks organization, Blackhawks fans and anyone else I may have offended. I know my words were hurtful and I will learn from my mistake.”
The Blackhawks also issued their own statement, released in conjunction with the Shaw apology.
“We are extremely disappointed in Andrew Shaw’s actions last night. His comments do not reflect what we stand for as an organization. We are proud to have an inclusive and respectful environment, and to support various initiatives such as the You Can Play Project and the Chicago Gay Hockey Association. We will use this opportunity to further educate our players and
organization moving forward, so that we all may learn from it.”
After the game, Shaw told reporters he didn’t recall what he said.
He picked up an interference penalty with 2:04 remaining in the third period, shoving Blues defenseman Jay Bouwmeester to the ice.
Once Shaw was sent to the penalty box, his message to the officials came in the form of two raised middle fingers on both hands. After that, Shaw tapped his stick on the glass of the penalty box and seemed to be making a derogatory term toward homosexuals.
“What Andrew said was unacceptable,” Blackhawks coach Joel Quenneville told reporters on Wednesday.
Speaking before he learned of the suspension Wednesday, Blues captain David Backes tried to avoid any more controversy.
“Certainly there’s a lesson there,” Backes said. “I think if you’re mad at (an opponent), you can insult the action perhaps and not use a slur of any kind and try to limit vulgarities. But some of those things come out when it is a heated moment.
“Again, we don’t agree with what happened. But we’ve got to all try to keep our emotions in check. We’ve done a pretty good job in this room of that for the majority of this series.”
Blues defenseman Kevin Shattenkirk was a little more pointed in his reaction to Shaw’s antics.
“Well it’s just kind of breeding that culture and doing what’s going on now,” Shattenkirk said. “People aren’t OK with it and obviously it’s a tough situation, it’s a touchy situation. But the more that we can just get it out of the game and make sure that it’s not staying in there – it’s something that will be handled by the NHL, it’s their job to handle it, it’s not ours.
“We can’t worry about it. We have to worry about the game tomorrow night and not be distracted by it. It’s something that we have to, again, just treat it as something that there’s no place for it in our game. When you start to breed that culture, then I think that’s infectious.”