Examining the NHL's four-point plan to deal with actions that cross the line
The American Hockey League's Colorado Eagles issued a statement of apology to former player Akim Aliu on Wednesday, after a Wall Street Journal story reported that a trainer dressed up as him while wearing blackface at a Halloween party eight years ago.
"As an organization, the discovery of this event deeply saddens us. Although we had no prior knowledge, that doesn't excuse or diminish the fact that this has hurt a fellow human being," the statement read. "Rest assured, our organization holds no ego too big or stature so proud that we are above apologies for any wrongdoings.
“As a family-oriented organization, we wholeheartedly seek your forgiveness and sincerely apologize. We are truly very sorry, and we will also assure you that this behavior is not and never will be acceptable in our organization."
Aliu played in 10 games for the Eagles in the 2011-12 season. According to the newspaper, Aliu says he was invited to the team party, but told to arrive later.
Aliu told the Wall Street Journal that he arrived to see Eagles equipment manager, Tony Deynzer, wearing black paint on his face, a black Afro-style wig and a team sweater with Aliu’s number and nickname "Dreamer" on the back. Aliu added that his teammates encouraged the two to pose for a photo together, which appeared in the Journal's online report.
"Guys just started laughing," Aliu said in the story. "I didn't even grasp the idea of how viscous of a thing that is to do."
According to writer Ryan S. Clark of The Athletic, Deynzer has been placed on an administrative leave of absence by the Colorado Avalanche, the Eagles' current NHL affiliate.
More to follow.