Flames coach Bill Peters admits to using racial slur toward ex-player, issues apology

The Calgary Flames still haven't made an official decision or whether to terminate head coach Bill Peters after allegations of racist remarks made by the coach came to light this week. But as Peters awaits his fate, he has admitted that those allegations are true with a statement released on Wednesday night.

In a letter to Flames general manager Brad Treliving, Peters apologized for "offensive language I used in a professional setting a decade ago" and says that the racial slurs he used were "made in a moment of frustration and does not reflect my personal values."

Here is the letter in full:

Brad:

Please accept this as a sincere apology to you, and the entire Calgary Flames organization, for offensive language I used in a professional setting a decade ago. I know that my comments have been the source of both anger and disappointment, and I understand why. Although it was an isolated and immediately regrettable incident, I take responsibility for what I said.

The statement was made in a moment of frustration and does not reflect my personal values. After the incident, I was rightfully challenged about my use of language, and I immediately returned to the dressing room to apologize to the team. I have regretted the incident since it happened, and I now apologize to anyone negatively affected by my words.

I am aware that there is no excuse for language that is offensive. I meant no disrespect in what I said, and it was not directed at anyone in particular. But, that doesn't matter; it was hurtful and demeaning. I am truly sorry.

I accept the reality of my actions. I do believe that we must strive to act with integrity, and to take accountability for what we say and do. This letter is intended to do exactly that; I hope it is accepted as intended.

I appreciate the thorough review of this situation being undertaken by the Flames. It's the right thing to do, and I support it fully.

Sincerely,

Bill Peters

The statement comes after one of Peters' former players with the Rockford IceHogs, Akim Aliu, said that the coach addressed him with a racial slur "several times" in the team's locker room during the 2009-2010 season. 

According to Aliu, who was born in Nigeria and is of Nigerian and Ukranian descent, the coach used racial slurs to express his frustration with the then 20-year-old rookie's tendency to play rap music in the locker room.

"Hey Akim, I'm sick of you playing that n----r shit," Aliu recalled Peters' saying as his reaction to Aliu's music. "He said, 'I'm sick of hearing this n----s f---ing other n----s in the ass stuff."  

Two of Aliu's IceHogs teammates at the time, Simon Pepin and Peter MacArthur, individually corroborated his story to TSN. Aliu's account also alleges Peters never apologized for the incident but instead doubled down in the coach's office with another racial slur.

While Peters admits to using the offensive language, the coach's statement claims he immediately apologized to the team and that his words were not "directed at anyone in particular." Peters does not name Aliu in his apology, nor does he specifically address the nature of the incident or the events leading up to it. 

Peters' statement also does not address some of the other accusations he has faced since Aliu came forward, including claims of physical abuse from former players with Carolina Hurricanes, who Peters coached from 2014-2018. Former Hurricanes forward Michal Jordan alleged that the coach kicked him and punched another player in the head during a game. Multiple Hurricanes sources, including current Canes head coach Rod Brind'Amour, corroborated those claims this week.

After Aliu went public with his story, the NHL announced that it was looking into the "repugnant and unacceptable" allegations against Peters. Peters left the Flames during their road trip in Buffalo on Tuesday and Treliving said the matter was being treated with "extreme seriousness." Associate coach Geoff Ward has taken over in Peters' absence.

Pete Blackburn is from Boston, so there's a good chance you don't like him already. He has been a writer at CBS Sports since 2017 and usually aims to take a humorous and light-hearted approach to the often... Full Bio

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