NHL clears Maple Leafs' Morgan Rielly of accusations that he directed homophobic slur at referee

The NHL has cleared Toronto Maple Leafs defenseman Morgan Rielly of accusations that he directed a homophobic slur at referee Brad Meier during a game against the Tampa Bay Lightning on Monday.

An ice-level microphone in Sportsnet's broadcast of the game picked up what appeared to be a slur, as Deadspin reported, with announcers noting immediately afterward that Rielly was upset over what he believed was an uncalled penalty. But it was not clear whether the word was actually a slur and if Rielly was the one who said it. It led to an NHL investigation into the matter that wound up lasting less than 24 hours.

"League officials interviewed several of the participants in the game -- including Rielly and Meier -- and reviewed audio of the alleged incident," Colin Campbell, the NHL's Senior EVP of Hockey Operations, said. "All of those interviewed adamantly denied that Rielly uttered a slur and the audio supported their statements."

Campbell added that the league "does not tolerate language or gestures that disparage anyone based upon their race, creed or sexual orientation."

Rielly, 25, is not the first NHL player to be investigated for allegedly using derogatory language on ice. Ryan Getzlaf of the Anaheim Ducks' was fined $10,000 for uttering a "demeaning" slur in the 2017 Stanley Cup Playoffs. That same year, the NHL ruled that the Montreal Canadiens' Andrew Shad had not used a slur in the penalty box during a game.

Our Latest Stories