Calgary Flames head coach Bill Peters admitted his use of racial slurs and apologized to GM Brad Treliving in a statement issued Wednesday night.
“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,” Peters wrote
“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.”
Peters’ status as the Flames coach has been placed into question while the NHL and the team investigate allegations he directed racist slurs at Nigerian-born player Akim Aliu in the minors 10 years ago. He was not behind the bench when the Flames faced the Buffalo Sabres in a road game on Wednesday.
His statement makes no mention of Aliu, but Peters said the comment 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,” he said in the statement. “I have regretted the incident since it happened, and I now also apologize to anyone negatively affected by my words.”
CBC Sports has reached out to Aliu for comment on Peters’ statement.
WATCH | Timeline of Bill Peters saga:
Calgary Flames head coach Bill Peters has come under fire after former player Akim Aliu accused the coach of using racial slurs towards him years ago. 2:11
Aliu played under Peters during the 2008-09 and 2009-10 seasons. He was demoted to the Toledo Walleye of the ECHL during the 2009-10 season. Aliu, who was born in Africa but raised in Ukraine and Canada, later played seven NHL games over two seasons with Calgary.
Aliu alleged Peters “dropped the N bomb several times towards me in the dressing room in my rookie year because he didn’t like my choice of music.” It happened during the 2009-10 season while the two were with the Chicago Blackhawks minor-league affiliate in Rockford, Ill.
“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.
WATCH | Current Hurricanes coach confirms incidents involving Peters:
Hurricanes head coach Rod Brind’Amour confirms allegations by former player Michal Jordan that Bill Peters kicked Jordan and punched another player during a game. 1:35
There is also no mention of former player Michal Jordan, who alleged Peters kicked him and punched a teammate while with the Carolina Hurricanes.
“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,” the statement concludes.
Treliving met with the media following the Calgary’s 3-2 win over the Sabres and said the investigation continues and the team hopes to provide and update on Thursday.
The NHL called the alleged behaviour “repugnant and unacceptable,” but held off commenting pending further investigation.
Treliving had called the alleged comments “repulsive.”
“Allegations of this nature, we take very, very seriously. This is subject matter that has no place in our organization,” Treliving said. “Now it’s my job to find out exactly what’s taken place.”
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