Mike Milbury, the man best-known as the worst General Manager in New York Islanders history and for beating a man with his own shoe, is back in the news. On Saturday night, Milbury made an ignorant and, quite frankly, sexist comment about the NHL’s bubble. Milbury compared the atmosphere of the games, which are being played without fans, to women’s college hockey games.
Essentially, Milbury took a shot at women’s hockey and how “no one cares” about the game. It’s ignorant quotes like that which have kept the women’s game from growing more. The fact that Milbury said this on a major network, the Montreal Canadiens and Pittsburgh Penguins were on NBC, makes it even more appalling.
On Sunday, without any kind of apology, NBC trotted Milbury out again to commentate on the Philadelphia Flyers Vs. Boston Bruins game. There were no consequences for Milbury’s words that put the women’s game down. Quite frankly, that is completely unacceptable.
This kind of ignorance, which isn’t true by the way, is harmful and hurtful. The women’s game has made strides in the last few seasons, but there is still a ways to go. In order for the women to get the recognition and livable salaries they deserve, major networks are going to need to get involved and show the product. Look at how ESPN and ABC have helped the WNBA grow. Look at the NWSL and their recent growth with CBS and CBS Sports Network.
Only in hockey, a sport so far behind in the times, could the major network covering the game allow comments like this to not only air, but go by unpunished. This would never fly on ESPN/ABC, CBS or even Fox Sports. They just wouldn’t. NBC apparently doesn’t care and is fine with false narratives about the women’s game being spewed on their network.
How about the fact that the Wisconsin Badgers Women’s Hockey team was pulling in more fans than the Detroit Red Wings on some nights? They did the same to teams like the Florida Panthers and Arizona Coyotes. How come Milbury ignored that little fact?
In the end, this article will probably fall on deaf ears. After all, people in hockey have been taking shots at the women’s game for years with no consequence. It’s a cheap laugh and, in their minds, a punchline. For once, it would be nice to see a network step in and say something. It would be nice to see NBC, the NHL or even NHL players step up and FINALLY support these women and stand up for their game. It’s long overdue.
I don’t know about you, but I’m quite sick of stupid, ignorant comments like the ones Milbury spewed on Saturday night. Enough is enough. Step up and do something about it NBC. Letting him off the hook is cheap and a slap in the face to all the women who work so damn hard to have a career in this game. It’s a slap in the face to the coaches and support staff, to the fans who passionately attend these games and the media who work hard to bring the best coverage possible.