A former BC minor league hockey broadcaster is apologizing for a racist comment he made about a player during Friday night’s BC Hockey League playoff game between the Alberni Valley Bulldogs and the Langley Rivermen.
Bruce MacDonald was providing color commentary for the Bulldogs’ broadcast. During the second period, after a dust-up involving Rivermen forward Owen Kim, MacDonald wondered aloud whether Kim speaks English.
“Come on, Kim,” MacDonald can be heard saying in a video of the incident posted on Twitter by the Langley Rivermen’s communications and digital media co-ordinator.
“Does he speak English? You know, maybe that’s the problem.”
Play-by-play broadcaster Evan Hammond immediately said MacDonald had gone too far, and the color commentator was taken off the air.
MacDonald’s comments drew condemnation on social media. Users also praised Hammond and the league for their quick responses to the incident.
In a statement posted on Twitter SaturdayMacDonald said he had emailed an apology to the Rivermen organization Friday night.
“It was important to me to try and reach out to Owen Kim first privately,” MacDonald’s statement reads.
“As I said in that letter (to the Rivermen), no one should be made to feel that way and I take full responsibility for my racist words. I am deeply sorry for the hurt I have caused Owen Kim, his family and anyone else who was affected by what I said.”
The league issued a statement late on Friday apologizing to Kim, his family and anyone else who had heard the broadcast, and saying the BCHL has “zero tolerance for this type of behaviour.”
The statement says MacDonald has been banned from any future BCHL broadcasts.
In his statement, MacDonald also apologized to Alberni Valley Bulldogs fans and the broader community.
“I am heartbroken that I caused it to end this way,” the statement reads. “I will do whatever I can and is asked of me to make this right.”
Radio station 93.3 The Peak, which broadcasts Bulldogs games, also issued a statement apologizing to Kim and condemning the comments, calling them “extremely offensive” and “inappropriate.”
“Racism has no place in hockey,” reads the statement from Rob Bye, Vancouver Island general manager for Pattison Media Ltd.
“Racism has no place on our radio stations nor in our company.”
With files from The Canadian Press