Chicago Blackhawks announcer apologizes for suicide reference over league’s COVID-19 restrictions
The Chicago Blackhawks issued a statement Tuesday condemning the word choice of a longtime TV announcer who made an on-air suicide reference, the Chicago Tribune reported.
During Monday night’s broadcast of the the NHL hockey team’s season finale against the Dallas Stars, Pat Foley said, “Had I been traveling with the team this year, I might have put a bullet in my head.”
The comment was made as Foley was discussing the strict COVID-19 protocols in place for road games.
Foley’s words immediately drew backlash, including from the Blackhawks themselves.
“We are incredibly disappointed in Pat Foley’s comments on our broadcast (Monday) evening — an absolutely unacceptable choice of words that trivialized mental health and suicide while discussing the challenges and loneliness the team may have faced during COVID-19 restrictions,” the team said in a statement, according to the Tribune.
The team went on to address the seriousness of mental health.
“We know many of our fans and other community members are struggling with similar thoughts and feelings, especially after this trying year, and we want them to know their wellbeing is no joking matter. Mental health is of the utmost importance to the Blackhawks, and we are speaking to Pat further about his insensitivity,” the team said.
Shortly after making the comment, Foley apologized.
“I wish I didn’t say that,” he said. “I’m sorry if I offended some folks. Apparently I did, so I apologize.”
The Tribune noted that Foley has come under criticism over his commentary before. In 2019, while talking about Eisbären Berlin’s Austin Ortega, Foley said, “Ortega, who sounds like he ought to be a shortstop.”
The Blackhawks also issued an apology statement after the incident.
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