Blackhawks’ Keith under fire for ‘female referee’ remarks
CTV British Columbia
Published Tuesday, April 23, 2013 7:58PM PDT
Last Updated Tuesday, April 23, 2013 7:59PM PDT
Chicago Blackhawks defenseman Duncan Keith is under the media microscope for what some are calling a sexist swipe at a Vancouver sports reporter.
Team 1040 sports reporter Karen Thomson interviewed Keith after the Blackhawks’ 3-1 loss to the Vancouver Canucks Monday night.
Referring to a heated play in which Keith whacked Canucks forward Daniel Sedin on the back during the latter’s breakaway goal, Thomson asked the defenseman if it should have been a penalty.
“Oh no, I don’t think there was – I think he scored a nice goal,” Keith replied. “The ref was right there. That’s what the ref saw. We should get you as a ref maybe, hey?” he asked Thomson, who replied that she couldn’t skate.
“The first female referee,” he continued. “You can’t play probably either, right? But you’re thinking the game like you know it? Okay, see ya,” he said, dismissing Thomson.
The interview turned into a hot-button issue Tuesday, with fans taking to airwaves and the web to blast Keith’s remarks as sexist.
“My guess is I don’t think he says that to a male reporter,” said Team 1040 announcer Blake Price. “Reading the tone into Duncan Keith, I think he just made the assumption based on gender, ‘Clearly you haven’t played the game.’”
News 1130 reporter Ann Schmaltz was also covering Monday’s Canucks-Blackhawks game and said Keith “kind of, I think, crossed a line.”
Schmaltz said male sports reporters endure the same kind of abrasiveness from NHL players from time-to-time, but because Keith used the word “female,” sports media around the continent pounced on the story.
“You have to have thick skin as a reporter anyway, but especially if you’re a female sports reporter,” she said. “This has happened before, it continues to happen, and guess what, it’s probably going to happen again.”
Thomson brushed aside the incident Tuesday morning, issuing a statement on Twitter that said “Hockey is an emotional game and things are often said in the heat of the moment. I think this is what happened last night. I’ve moved on.”
The exchange is just the latest in what’s become one of the National Hockey League’s prime rivalries.
One year ago, Keith delivered an elbow that concussed Daniel Sedin. The teams have also met in the playoffs in three of the last four seasons.
The teams will face off again this season only if they each make it to the Western Conference Final.
With a report from CTV British Columbia’s Shannon Paterson