The National Hockey League condemned an “insensitive and insulting” comment against women made by analyst Mike Milbury during Thursday night’s telecast of a Stanley Cup playoff game, saying the broadcaster’s words did not reflect the league’s stance on making the game more inclusive.
Update 8:45 p.m. EDT Aug. 21: NHL broadcast analyst Mike Milbury said he will not appear on NBC Sports’ coverage for the remainder of the Stanley Cup playoffs, ESPN reported.
Milbury, a former player and coach, said he did not want to be a distraction after his comments Thursday noting that players were not as distracted playing in a bubble environment because there were no women present. The NHL condemned Milbury’s comments as “insensitive and insulting.”
“In light of the attention caused by my recent remark, I have decided to step away from my role at NBC Sports for the remainder of the Stanley Cup Playoffs,” Milbury said in a statement released by the network. “I do not want my presence to interfere with the athletes as they try to win the greatest trophy in sports.”
FROM MIKE MILBURY:
In light of the attention caused by my recent remark, I have decided to step away from my role at NBC Sports for the remainder of the StanleyCupPlayoffs. I do not want my presence to interfere with the athletes as they try to win the greatest trophy in sports.
— NBC Sports PR (@NBCSportsPR) August 22, 2020
Original report: During the New York Islanders’ 4-0 victory against the Washington Capitals, co-host John Forslund was speaking about the benefits of the NHL players playing in a bubble environment, The Sporting News reported.
“If you think about it, it’s a terrific environment with regard to — if you enjoy playing and enjoy being with your teammates for long periods of time, it’s a perfect place,” Forslund said.
“Not even any woman here to disrupt your concentration,” Milbury, a former NHL player and coach, said in response.
It’s 2020, and yet… 🤯 pic.twitter.com/d74TMlhkkP
— Alison (@AlisonL) August 21, 2020
In a statement, the NHL criticized Milbury’s comment.
“The National Hockey League condemns the insensitive and insulting comment that Mike Milbury made during last night’s broadcast and we have communicated our feelings to NBC,” the statement said. “The comment did not reflect the NHL’s values and commitment to making our game more inclusive and welcoming to all.”