The NHL said Toronto Maple Leafs defenseman Morgan Rielly did not use a gay slur during Monday’s game against Tampa Bay and the player also denied it. Who did utter it — if anyone did — is still a mystery.
“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,” Colin Campbell, the NHL Senior VP of Hockey Operations said in a Twitter statement released on Tuesday.
“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 slur “fucking faggot” appears to be shouted by someone late in the second period as Rielly raced for a puck. The NHL said that Rielly was not the offender and the player spoke today about the incident.
“I didn’t hear it,” Rielly said Tuesday. “I know that I didn’t use that word. ... I’m not sure whether it came from the ice or not. Either way, that word has no place in this building. This is a team that wants to be very involved with the community and the movement.”
Maple Leafs general manager Kyle Dubas said that at an NHL meeting last week the topic of slurs was discussed, so that was it was fresh on everyone’s mind. He added that had a player said a gay slur to the official, the official would have immediately ejected the player.
Dubas also said that a few weeks ago Rielly had come to him asking how he could get involved in the Maple Leafs’ participation in Toronto’s June pride event.
Rielly has also tweeted “Happy Pride” about various events in Canada, which doesn’t seem like the stance of a man who would then yell “faggot.” He does appear woke.
Happy pride Vancouver!— morgan rielly (@mriles4) August 5, 2018
This still leaves the question open about who uttered the slur. If it wasn’t anyone on ice, it would leave a fan, which then might be impossible to pinpoint. I have seen some people speculate that “rag it” was shouted instead of “faggot” but that seems like a real stretch. Listen for yourself.