New Jersey Devil Cam Janssen released a statement today apologizing for the anti-gay language he used on a St. Louis-based internet radio show. When the show’s host asked the hockey forward a homophobic leading question regarding trash-talk, Janssen played along:
JANSSEN: You wanna get in people’s heads to get them off their fucking game and don’t get me wrong, you don’t wanna go too deep with shit because we all have our issues here. Let’s be honest.
HOST: But if the guy was sucking cock 4 weeks ago, you’re gonna let him know about it?
JANSSEN: Oh, if he’s sucking cock, he’s getting his ass kicked. [laughter]
Janssen released the apology on the Devils’ website:
I would like to apologize for my poor choice of language. The tone of the interview was very casual and off-color, and I lost focus on what is and is not acceptable and professional. I am deeply sorry to anyone who was offended by my language. Moving forward, I hope to eliminate that type of language from my vocabulary. I would also like to take this chance to express my support for the work the You Can Play project is doing, and for the gay community in general.
Patrick Burke of You Can Play — the NHL’s project to eliminate homophobia — accepted Janssen’s apology. “People unwilling to give Cam a chance to learn from his mistakes are doing no more to support You Can Play than he did in his interview,” Burke tweeted.
And Janssen’s comments should not distract from the amazing work the NHL is doing with the groundbreaking You Can Play Project. With a simple “if you can play, you can play” refrain, the NHL has been the first major American sport to strongly combat longstanding homophobia in American locker rooms. The campaign works by showing hockey stars framing the inclusion of LGBT players and fans with familiar sports aphorisms: unity, teamwork, and respect. Watch it: