Lehner clarifies COVID-19 remarks on Twitter; NHL responds with statement
Robin Lehner took to Twitter on Wednesday afternoon to clarify some comments he made earlier in the day at a Vegas Golden Knights media availability.
The 29-year-old goaltender spoke at length about the restrictions the NHL has placed on its players, even after they have been vaccinated, saying that it felt like a "prison" at times and accused the league of lying to its players about how vaccinations would loosen protocols.
He apologized for the "prison" remark on Twitter and said that he did a poor job of articulating his feelings during his press conference.
I hope we can all work together to help people that suffers trough mental help from this going forward. I’ve heard how a lot of people are doing trough this as people talk to me about it.— Robin Lehner (@RobinLehner) April 21, 2021
"As I’m frustrated like a lot of people in the world right now everything didn’t come out of today’s press in the right way," Lehner wrote. "Main point is that we need to start take the mental health important as well In this situation. It has a huge impact on everyone in society right now. To put competitive edge before well being of people's lives is wrong. As I said, people are struggling with many different things mentally and we need to consider that, as well. Then, being lied to makes it worse."
I love hockey and the league has done a lot of good things," Lehner continued. "But this missed the mark. My bad to say it’s like prison and I apologize, but with mental health issues that are developing in the world, it develops problems mentally. We will see exactly how this affects everything with time. I don’t mean to offend anyone. I hope we can all work together to help people that suffer through mental help from this going forward. I’ve heard how a lot of people are doing through this as people talk to me about it."
During his briefing, Lehner said that the league has misled the players about how vaccination will lead to the loosening of restrictions.
"They told me yesterday that they're surveying all of the teams to see who has taken the vaccine and who has not taken the vaccine and they're not going to change the rules for us as players until all of the teams have a fair [amount] of [vaccinated players] at the same time, so there's not a competitive edge," Lehner said. "And that made me go crazy, to be honest."
Lehner said the league is failing to look at its players as people first and lied to them about taking the vaccine.
"These are human lives and people are struggling with this stuff a lot in society and we are humans just as everyone else," Lehner said. "So there's a twofold problem for me here - the first one is we got promised something to take something that not necessarily everyone wanted. So that was lie - a blatant lie. Second, to put competitive edge over human lives in terms of going back - and I'm not saying we're going out to a party or whatever, but we had a meeting when the season started, at the beginning of camp, that pretty much told us we can't go outside of our house, can't do anything, can't go to the grocery store, can do nothing on the road. You can take a meal out of the meal room and go sit up in your room, don't be with your teammates, don't do this, don't do that. Nobody thinks about the mental impact."
The Gothenburg, Sweden native says his peers are struggling through this pandemic season.
"I know people will say, 'Oh, you're millionaires' and this and that or 'What about these guys?' but we care about that, too, man," Lehner said. "No matter what people think, this is a society problem. But when government, corporations, NHL, whoever are taking decisions in terms of irrelevant things like competitive edge over the human being? It's not okay."
Lehner is in his 11th NHL season.