The NHL acquitted itself beautifully on the allegation that Canadiens forward Andrew Shaw used a homophobic slur yet again during a game against the Anaheim Ducks last week.
Shaw was already suspended during the playoff game against the Chicago Blackhawks last year for using a slur. Since then, the hockey player insisted that he’s already turned a new leaf. He even accepted the team offer to become the LGBTQ ambassador.
The player would be the team’s face in the You Can Play program, which seeks to pursue initiatives that will promote equality, safety and respect for all players, “without regard to sexual orientation and/or gender identity.”
In accepting the offer, Shaw was cognizant that his decision would receive some doubts and criticism but it’s the only way he knows how in order to make amends.
However, a video of Shaw while in a penalty box had fans and pundits wondering: did he use a slur again?
According to the ESPN, credit should go to the NHL for not dismissing outright the accusations nor buckling under public pressure to penalize Shaw. Instead, it launched an investigation—led by NHFL director of officiating Stephen Walkom—who then interviewed everybody who was at the time, including the referees, Franchis Charron and Gord Dwyer. The official of the penalty box was also interviewed.
All of them corroborated Shaw’s claim that he never used a slur.
Upon review of the video, sports columnists believe that Shaw mouthed, “not f—cking fair!” instead of a slur. The Canadiens forward had protested to the referee that Ducks defenseman Kevin Bieksa punched him but wasn’t punished appropriately. For his part, Bieksa was handed a double-minor.
The statement from the league office read: “The League thoroughly investigated this matter including interviewing Andrew Shaw, on-ice officials and relevant off-ice officials. We are completely satisfied that Andrew Shaw did not say the homophobic slur that has been alleged.”