NHL on NBC analyst Mike Milbury has never been discrete. His comments tend to ruffle feathers and he’s likely never held back any thought that’s crossed his mind, regardless of the topic.
Earlier in the 2020 NHL playoffs he was blasted for how open he was about the length of a five-period overtime game between Tampa Bay and Columbus. He was part of the announce team. As the game wore on, it was easy to tell he was frustrated to still be there and said afterwards that there has to be a point the NHL says enough is enough and calls the game. He said, eventually a playoff game should go to three-on-three and then a shootout if needed. That didn’t go over very well with fans and other media.
At the end of the day though, comments like those are harmless. But, what he said on Thursday during an NHL on NBC game though isn’t exactly going to go away.
Milbury is receiving criticism from media and fans for a remark he made about life in the NHL bubble. Speaking during the Islanders’ 4-0 win over the Capitals his announcing partner and co-host John Forslund said the NHL bubble could actually be a good environment for team bonding. That’s when Milbury chimed in and has his ridiculous take that there weren’t women in the bubble to “distract” the players. He suggested that there are “not even any women here to disrupt your concentration.”
These comments have gone viral and he’s not the only one taking some criticism. He went unchecked on-air and the silence from the network and his peers has been noticeable. A few members of the media have taken to social media to note that what he said was wrong in so many ways, but many are calling for more to be done.
What’s Going to Happen to Milbury?
What Milbury says here isn’t just sexist, it’s dangerous and it shows that, in many ways, hockey culture has a long ways to go. There are plenty of women working in hockey who are not a distraction and for players who greatly miss their families, this take is disparaging on so many levels.
It also sends a message that while women have been accepted in some ways, in others they have not, at least not in Mike Milbury’s eyes. It discredits the hundreds of women working to make this 2020 playoff environment a reality and ensuring these games actually happen.
Even if what Milbury was trying to do was reference some sort of reputation for players being notorious for their womanizing ways on the road or at clubs and bars, it was not something he should have said, especially on air.
NBC and Milbury Comment
The NHL released a statement Friday condemning Milbury’s words, saying they didn’t reflect the league’s “value and commitment to making our game more inclusive and welcoming to all.”
Milbury also apologized but that may not save his job as many are calling for NBC Sports to fire him as this isn’t the first time he’s made insensitive remarks on the air. He said, “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.
Milbury Has Been Removed From Tonight’s Game
John Shannon had reported that there was buzz Milbury would be removed from tonight’s broadcast and it was later confirmed by Emily Kaplan that he would not be part of the announce team tonight and the remainder of the weekend.
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