The NHL bubble may keep its players safe from COVID-19, but not its fans from Mike Milbury’s “insensitive and insulting” commentary.
The NBC Sports analyst came under fire Thursday night, while calling the Islanders and Capitals game, for suggesting that women were a distraction to NHL players.
“If you think about it, [the bubble is] 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,” play-by-play man John Forslund said.
“Not even any women here to disrupt your concentration,” Milbury replied.
The NHL issued a statement Friday condemning Milbury’s remark.
“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 league said. “The comment did not reflect the NHL’s values and commitment to making our game more inclusive and welcoming to all.”
NBC Sports said it was “disappointed about Mike’s insensitive comment and have addressed it with him.” Milbury also issued an apology Friday.
“I sincerely apologize for making the comment. It was not my intention to disrespect anyone,” he said in a statement. “I was trying to be irreverent and took it a step too far. It was a regrettable mistake that I take seriously.”
It’s not the first time the former Islanders coach has been called out for his commentary in the bubble, though. Last week, he questioned Bruins goalie Tuukka Rask’s decision to leave the bubble for family reasons. It has since been reported there was a family emergency.
“Nobody has simply opted to leave the bubble just because they didn’t want to be here and they needed to be with their family,” Milbury said at the time. “I would not have done it, the rest of the league’s players have not done it.”