Following a thorough investigation, the NHL has determined Maple Leafs defenceman Morgan Rielly did not direct a homophobic slur at an official during Monday night’s home game against the Tampa Bay Lightning.
During the end of the second period, while the Leafs were on a power play, camera mics picked up what sounded like “f*cking f*ggot,” as Rielly and Tampa Bay’s Yanni Gourde skated into Toronto’s defensive zone.
During tonight’s @TBLightning – @MapleLeafs game, microphones picked up a player using a homophobic slur seemingly directed towards a referee. Not entirely sure who the player was, but it seems like Morgan Rielly was that player based on reports.
NSFW (around 6 seconds). pic.twitter.com/O0eI5KV5uQ
— Hockey Daily (@HockeyDaily365) March 12, 2019
Following the game, the NHL launched an investigation into the alleged incident shortly after the game. By Tuesday afternoon, the league had determined Rielly did not direct a homophobic slur at referee Brad Meier.
“League officials interviewed several of the participants in the game — including Rielly and Meier — and reviewed video of the alleged incident. All of those interviewed adamantly denied that Rielly uttered a slur and the audio supported their statements,” said Colin Campbell, the league’s executive vice-president and director of hockey operations in a statement Tuesday.
“The National Hockey League does not tolerate language or gestures that disparage anyone based on 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.”
— NHL Public Relations (@PR_NHL) March 12, 2019
After Monday night’s game, Leafs general manager Kyle Dubas also released a statement and said the team was cooperating fully with the league during the investigation.
Toronto Maple Leafs general manager Kyle Dubas made the following statement this evening following their game versus the Tampa Bay Lightning: pic.twitter.com/o6RaA7zTQS
— Leafs PR (@LeafsPR) March 12, 2019
The Leafs lost 6-2 to the league-best Lightning, and remain in third place in the NHL’s Eastern Conference with 13 games left on their schedule.