National Hockey League investigating potential homophobic slur at Maple Leafs-Lightning game

The NHL has launched an investigation into the possible use of a homophobic slur in the Toronto Maple Leafs' 6-2 loss to the Tampa Bay Lightning on Monday night. No specific findings from the investigation were shared, and neither Rielly or Dubas wanted to speak for Meier or the league when asked how the NHL arrived at its conclusion.

The issue of homophobia is one the Toronto Maple Leaf Hockey Club strongly condemns and takes very seriously. At that point, both the Toronto Maple Leafs defenceman and the management of his team could easily have let the matter rest.

"The National Hockey League has determined that Toronto Maple Leafs defenceman Morgan Rielly did not direct a homophobic slur at referee Brad Meier during last night's game with the Tampa Bay Lightning at Scotiabank Arena", Colin Campbell, the league's executive vice-president and director of hockey operations, said in a statement Tuesday.

The Maple Leafs have been one of the most vocal supporters of the You Can Play organization, which partnered with the team on February 25 for a night that spotlighted the LGBTQ hockey community.

Assuming the NHL's findings are indeed concrete, this is obviously the ideal scenario for the league, the Maple Leafs and Rielly.

The player previously issued an apology for sexist remarks in 2015, after he said during an interview: "You just worry about doing a job... you're not here to, you know, be a girl about it". It's a phrase that has to be taken out of today's society.

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"I was 100 percent confident I didn't use the word", he said.

"It was careless by me. I didn't mean it in that manner in any way". "I don't want it to be perceived that Morgan feels that way or that the team feels that Morgan was slandered, I think some people rushed to judgment and that's what happens in 2019".

"That's really the hope, is that people see that we support it, we understand that it is a challenge for people to potentially come out if they are gay, but our goal as an organization ... is that it's more about the environment that we're creating for everybody".

The NHL has been inconsistent in handing down penalties for homophobic behavior.

Blackhawks player Andrew Shaw had shouted the slur while sat in the penalty box after being sent off. "We can not and will not tolerate public commentary or behaviour by league or club personnel that is antithetical to those values".

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