Toronto Maple Leafs defenseman Morgan Rielly has been cleared of calling a referee a gay slur.
Rielly was investigated after a mic appeared to pick up somebody shouting at a ref and calling him a “f***ing fa**ot” during a Monday game against the Tampa Bay Lightning. You can watch the video below. The comment comes right away, and it certainly sounds like somebody said it.
Following a thorough investigation, the National Hockey League has determined that Toronto Maple Leafs defenseman Morgan Rielly did not direct a homophobic slur at referee Brad Meier during last night’s game with the Tampa Bay Lightning at Scotiabank Arena. League officials interviewed several of the participants in the game – including Rielly and Meier – and reviewed audio of the alleged incident. All of those interviewed adamantly denied that Rielly uttered a slur and the audio supported their statements. The National Hockey League does not tolerate language or gestures that disparage anyone based upon their race, creed or sexual orientation and continues to work to ensure that our games are played in a welcoming atmosphere for all of our players, coaches, officials and fans.
Well, I’m glad to see he Rielly has been cleared, but I guess I’m also wondering why this is such a big deal. Things get said during sporting events all the time that aren’t pretty. That’s just the nature of the business.
I’m not justifying it or saying it’s okay, but you’re kidding yourself if you think athletes are out there just constantly complementing opponents and the refs. (RELATED: NHL Ref Takes Puck Straight To The Groin. The Video Will Twist Your Stomach)
That’s not how it works at all. Somebody calling a ref a “f***ing fa**ot” wouldn’t be great, but I can promise you all that I’ve heard much worse. The ice in the NHL isn’t a safe space. That’s just a fact.
View this post on Instagram
Again, I’m not saying that it’s okay to say offensive things on the ice. That’s not my point at all. I’m just pointing out that it happens all the time, and the league is going to be bogged down if they investigate every single time they get a complaint.
The only reason this one became a big deal was because it was on tape. I have no idea who said what, but as TMZ pointed out, the NHL cleared Rielly without saying what he did or didn’t actually say.
As you can hear on the tape, somebody absolutely appeared to say the slur. I guess it just wasn’t Rielly.