The NHL condemned what it called “insensitive and insulting” comments that analyst Mike Milbury made about women during an NBCSN broadcast on Thursday night, saying they did not reflect the league’s “value and commitment to making our game more inclusive and welcoming to all.”
Milbury and analyst Brian Boucher were discussing the benefits of the NHL’s playoff bubble during the broadcast of the Islanders’ series-clinching win over the Capitals.
“If you think about it, it’s a terrific environment with regard to — if you enjoy playing and enjoy being with your teammates for long periods of time, it’s a perfect place,” Boucher said.
“Not even any woman here to disrupt your concentration,” Milbury responded.
In a statement, the NHL called the comment “insensitive and insulting” and said it communicated its concern to NBC, the league’s U.S. TV rights partner.
In a statement released through NBC Sports, Milbury apologized for the comment on Friday.
“It was not my intention to disrespect anyone,” Milbury said in the statement. “I was trying to be irreverent and took it a step too far. It was a regrettable mistake that I take seriously.”
NBC Sports said through a spokesperson that it was disappointed with Milbury’s “insensitive comment” and that he would not be working Friday night’s Flyers-Canadiens game.
This isn’t the first time the 68-year-old Milbury has been flagged for insensitive comments about women on broadcasts. In 2012, he said Penguins coach Dan Bylsma should have “taken off his skirt and gone over there” during an in-game scuffle. In 2011, Milbury referred to Canucks players Daniel and Henrik Sedin as “Thelma and Louise.”
“He made a bad comment about us, calling us women,” Daniel Sedin said at the time. “I don’t know how he looks at women. I would be pretty mad if I was a woman.”