NBC hockey analyst Mike Milbury will be off the air for the remainder of the 2020 Stanley Cup playoffs, he said Saturday.
Milbury said in a statement that he didn’t want his “recent remark” — he said during Thursday’s Capitals-Islanders game that it was nice that no women were around the Toronto bubble to “disrupt” players’ concentration — to interfere with those players’ focus.
From The Associated Press’ Stephen Whyno:
Mike Milbury: “In light of the attention caused by my recent remark, I have decided to step away from my role at NBC Sports for the remainder of the Stanley Cup Playoffs. I do not want my presence to interfere with the athletes as they try to win the greatest trophy in sports.”
— Stephen Whyno (@SWhyno) August 22, 2020
Milbury apologized for the comment Friday, saying he was trying to be “irreverent.” Critics, including multiple female media members, viewed the comment as openly sexist and just the latest example of Milbury’s and longtime hockey men’s mysogyny. Both NBC and the NHL were disapproving of Milbury’s remark.
Milbury was not on the air for Friday’s game in Toronto between the Flyers and Canadiens. Ed Olczyk replaced him in the analyst role. NBC did not immediately announce broadcast teams for the second round of the playoffs, which begins Saturday.
The 68-year-old Milbury has a history of insensitive comments during his TV career. Canadian newspaper The National Post listed incidents in 2009, 2011 and 2012 as a sample. Last week, Milbury was harshly criticized for belittling Bruins goaltender Tuukka Rask, who left the bubble in the middle of a series. It was later revealed Rask left to be with his family.