The Chicago Blackhawks have been lauded as the model NHL franchise for the last few years for their on-ice accomplishments. To put it simply, things have been less than ideal off the ice. During last night's Game 4 playoff loss to the St. Louis Blues, the off-ice piggishness met the on-ice product when forward Andrew Shaw was apparently caught by TV cameras calling a referee a homophobic slur while in the penalty box.
In the closing minutes of the third period, already down two games to one in the series, Shaw was called for interference, giving the Blues an advantage. While in the penalty box he appears to yell at a referee "fuck you, fucking faggot, fuck you."
It appears he said something similar even before getting taken to the penalty box.
Shaw did not help himself after the game at all by refusing to acknowledge what he may or may not have said, saying instead that "emotions were high."
Shaw was twice asked after the game by Chicago Tribune Blackhawks beat-writer Chris Kuc about his comments and both times did not acknowledge his homophobic language.
Kuc summed up how people should be reacting.
Kuc's colleague at the Tribune, Chris Hine, himself a gay sportswriter, took to Twitter as well with some salient thoughts on the matter.
Hine's mentions have similarly been a disaster since last night as well.
Making this incident even more unfortunate is that two weeks ago, the team partnered with the You Can Play Project, an organization that wants to make all sports, not just professional, more inclusive to LGBTQ athletes. Part of that new partnership included an anti-homophobia video recorded by two members of the team—but not Shaw.
You Can Play has announced it is reaching out to the NHL about the incident "to assist with an appropriate response." Outsports put it thusly, saying "There needs to be zero tolerance of this, or all the You Can Play videos the league's team have done will be for nothing."
Andrew Shaw probably won't be playing hockey for a while, even if the Blackhawks can overcome a 3-1 series deficit—hopefully he'll use that time off to learn a thing or two about what is and isn't appropriate to shout at another human being.
UPDATE: Andrew Shaw has issued an apology:
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.
David Matthews operates the Wayback Machine on Fusion.net—hop on. Got a tip? Email him: firstname.lastname@example.org