NHL.com’s Dave Lozo reports that Florida Panthers forward Krys Barch is adamant the “inappropriate comments” he directed towards Montreal’s PK Subban were in no way racially motivated.
“I know myself and what I said, it may have been inappropriate,” Barch said. “But it was nowhere along the lines of racial slur.”
Barch was suspended one game for his actions during a Dec. 31 contest against the Canadiens. According to George Richards of the Miami Herald, Barch asked Subban if he “slipped on a banana peel” after falling in a first-period tussle with Erik Gudbranson.
The decision to suspend Barch has raised some questions. On Thursday, Barch said that NHL Director of Hockey Operations Colin Campbell told him if he thought Barch’s comments were racially motivated he would’ve suspended him for, “five-to-10 games and this would’ve been done the day after.”
Which begs the question — if the league didn’t view Barch’s comments as racially motivated, what’s he being suspended for? Bad taste? Poor judgement? Political incorrectness?
The NHL has suspended players for making racial remarks in the past. In 1997, Washington’s Chris Simon was suspended three games for shouting a slur at Edmonton’s Mike Grier — and it’s clear Barch doesn’t want to be placed into that category of offenders.
“I was brought up living in southern Ontario, one of the most multi-cultured places in North America, if not the world,” Barch told the Sun-Sentinel. “Playing in a league with so many nationalities with players from so many countries, being as diverse as we really are, I would never want to touch people, especially my peers and guys I play against, in that way.’’