Former NHL All-Star Jeremy Roenick has been regarded for many years as one of the more outspoken and entertaining figures in hockey. He is certainly idolized by many who like guys who “call it how it is.” However, Roenick’s outlandish personality has always had the potential to get him into trouble. After his most recent appearance on the Spittin’ Chiclets Podcast, he may have crossed a line. NBC Sports announced that Roenick had been suspended for inappropriate comments made about his coworkers.

Roenick’s comments

Jeremy Roenick was asked about a recent trip he took to Portugal with his wife, as well as his NBC Sports coworker, Kathryn Tappen.

“When you walk in to every place with two blonde bombshells on each side, your chest pops out a lot more.”

Jeremy Roenick, NBC Sports

He mentioned that a resort guest had asked what the situation was between Roenick and the two women. “I play it off like we’re going to bed together every night, all three of us,” Roenick said on the podcast. “If it really came to fruition that would really be good, but it’s never gonna happen,” he joked.

Roenick did, however, praise Tappen for her professionalism.

He also made reference to working with former Chicago Blackhawk Patrick Sharp. Spittin’ Chiclets co-host Paul Bissonnette prompted Roenick by saying, “He’s looking at the camera like he wants to f..k everybody, and everybody wants to f..k him back.” Roenick responded, “He is so beautiful, I’d have to think about it if he asked me.”

Roenick’s Place in Hockey Culture

Roenick certainly has the credibility to be an interesting and entertaining hockey analyst. He played over 1300 NHL games, scoring over 500 goals and 1400 points. His knowledge and experience in the game, while somewhat old-school, is certainly an asset for any hockey broadcast. Roenick’s comments, however, were inappropriate, and poorly-timed.

Roenick’s comments come at a time when the NHL is trying to eliminate things like this from hockey culture. A long history of abuse, racism and other sensitive incidents have come to light recently. Most notably, Bill Peters, who allegedly directed racial slurs at Akim Aliu, when Aliu was a rookie in the AHL.

He also voiced his support for Don Cherry when he was fired by Sportsnet for divisive comments about immigrants not wearing poppies for Remembrance Day. He appeared on TSN 1040’s midday show “Donnie and the Moj” the week after Cherry was let go.

Not a surprise

It would be a step too far to say that Roenick stands for the things that the NHL is trying to eliminate. However, comments like this don’t help. Especially in a time when women are struggling to gain respect in sports media, and in professional hockey. Roenick needed to be more mindful of what he was saying, and the number of people he was reaching.

Spittin’ Chiclets will occasionally speak on sexual subject matter, including their own sexual experiences. The podcast is marked explicit. It is not a surprise that the show will move in that direction. Roenick needed to use more discretion when telling stories such as the one about his trip to Portugal. As someone who works for the NHL’s rights holder in the United States, more professionalism was required on Roenick’s part.

Neither NBC or Roenick has commented on the matter. It is not known whether he has apologized privately to his aforementioned coworkers.

Given the direction the game is trying to move in, NBC has made the decision to be a part of the solution, not an enabler of the problem.

About Author

Luke McGrath

Luke McGrath is a broadcast and online journalism student at the British Columbia Institute of Technology in Vancouver. He loves hockey and golf, however his knowledge of the two sports heavily outweighs his ability to play them.

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