Ryan Getzlaf is the latest professional athlete to be punished for a poor choice of words.
The NHL on Saturday fined the Anaheim Ducks center $10,000 for directing a gay slur at a referee during Game 4 of his team’s Western Conference finals matchup against the Nashville Predators.
Television cameras caught Getzlaf barking at a referee while on the ice, then appearing to use the gay slur after he sat down on the bench.
“Getzlaf’s comment in Thursday’s game, particularly as directed to another individual on the ice, was inappropriately demeaning and disrespectful, and crossed the line into behavior that we deem unacceptable,” the NHL said in a statement. “The type of language chosen and utilized in this instance will not be tolerated in the National Hockey League.”
Getzlaf issued somewhat of a lukewarm apology after Saturday’s Game 5, telling reporters his comment wasn’t directed at the referee and that he didn’t intend for it to be interpreted as a gay slur.
“A situation like that, where I’m on the bench by myself, frustration set in,” Getzlaf said, via ESPN. “There was obviously some words said, not necessarily directed at anyone in particular. It was just kind of a comment. I’ve got to be a little bit more responsible for the words I choose.
“Definitely as a father, as somebody that takes a lot of pride in this game and the respect for it, it’s tough to see somebody refer to it as (a gay slur). I didn’t mean it in that manner in any way. For that to take that route was very disappointing for me. I do accept responsibility and I accept the fine.”
The Ducks won Game 4 in Nashville but dropped Game 5 on home ice Saturday to fall into a 3-2 series hole. The series shifts back to Nashville on Monday for must-win Game 6 for Anaheim.
Thumbnail photo via Christopher Hanewinckel/USA TODAY Sports Images
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