NHL determines Maple Leafs’ Rielly did not use homophobic slur

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The NHL has determined that Morgan Rielly did not utter a homophobic slur at referee Brad Meier during Monday night’s game against the Tampa Bay Lightning. The Toronto Maple Leafs defenseman was skating back into the defensive zone when television microphones picked up audio that sounded like it was directed at the official.

Here’s the statement the NHL released on Tuesday afternoon:

“Following a thorough investigation, the National Hockey League has determined that Toronto Maple Leafs defenseman 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.

“League officials interviewed several participants of the participants in the game — including Rielly and Meier — and reviewed audio of the alleged incident. All of those interviewed adamantly denied that Rielly uttered a slur and the audio supported their statements.

“The National Hockey League does not tolerate language or gestures that disparage anyone based upon their race, creed or sexual orientation and continues to work to ensure that our games are played in a welcoming atmosphere for all of our players, coaches, officials, and fans.”

Following the game the NHL announced they would be investigating the alleged incident and Maple Leafs general manager Kyle Dubas released a statement supporting the league in determining whether the accusations were true.

“I was 100 percent confident that I did not use the word,” Rielly said while meeting the media on Tuesday afternoon. “There is no place for slurs like that in sports or in life.”

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Sean Leahy is a writer for Pro Hockey Talk on NBC Sports. Drop him a line at phtblog@nbcsports.com or follow him on Twitter @Sean_Leahy.