NBC Sports NHL analyst Mike Milbury has been benched for the night after making a remark about women being a disruption to players’ “concentration” during the hockey season.
During Thursday’s New York Islanders vs. Washington Capitals game, Milbury’s TV partner John Forslund spoke glowingly about the NHL “bubble” as being a “terrific environment” for hockey players.
“If you think about it, it’s a terrific environment with regards to– if you enjoy playing and enjoy being with your teammates for long periods of time, it’s a perfect place,” Forslund said.
Milbury then responded, “Not even any woman here to disrupt your concentration.”
That disrupted the Twitter conversation on Friday. It also got Mibury benched.
“Mike is not working tonight,” an NBC Sports spokesperson told TheWrap. “We will announce our commentary teams for this weekend’s games tomorrow morning.”
Milbury was previously scheduled to work on Friday.
Forslund is instead calling tonight’s game with Brian Boucher. They’re assigned to the Philadelphia Flyers vs. Montreal Canadiens contest on NBCSN (NBC Sports Network).
Initially, NBC Sports said it was “disappointed” with Milbury’s “insensitive comment.”
“We’re disappointed about Mike’s insensitive comment and have addressed it with him,” the group told the Associated Press.
Milbury told AP Hockey reporter Stephen Whyno: “I sincerely apologize for making the comment. It was not my intention to disrespect anyone. I was trying to be irreverent and took it a step too far. It was a regrettable mistake that I take seriously.”
On Friday, the NHL said the following in a statement: “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 comment did not reflect the NHL’s values and commitment to making our game more inclusive and welcoming to all.”
Listen to Milbury make the comment on live TV below.
It’s 2020, and yet… 🤯 pic.twitter.com/d74TMlhkkP
— Alison (@AlisonL) August 21, 2020
Since returning from the league shutdown due to the coronavirus pandemic, the NHL, much like the NBA, has been playing in a “bubble.” The hockey stuff, an extended 24-team playoff, has taken place in the Canadian “hub” cities of Toronto and Edmonton, Alberta.
Knock on plexiglass, COVID-19 has stayed away from the NHL’s restart. The same can be said for the NBA’s bubble.
Major League Baseball, which has not contained itself just a few host cities, has been ravaged by the virus.