The Blackhawks’ Andrew Shaw has been suspended for Game 5, and fined $5,000, for improper conduct Tuesday night. The one-game suspension is for using a gay slur towards a referee from the penalty box late in the third period. The fine was for giving the middle finger to the officials on his way to the box.

Shaw was visibly shaken and emotional as he met with the media at O’Hare Airport earlier today to apologize for his actions. Shaw emphasized that there was no excuse for his actions, and that “that’s not the type of guy I am.” Blackhawks captain Jonathan Toews says the team stands by Shaw, calling this a teachable moment for him and the team. “I’ll never use that word again,” said Shaw. “It’s a hurtful word.”

Here is the video link to see Shaw’s apology:

As much of a pest as he is for other teams on the ice, I don’t believe Andrew Shaw is a bad guy off the ice. You don’t need to hate him just because he made a really, really bad mistake. Regardless of where you sit on the issue, he used a word that just can’t be thrown around anymore.

I understand that in the heat of the moment of a high-tension sporting events things slip out and are said. We are all human, and so is Andrew Shaw. It’s now a chance to educate people in sports about decency and respect.

The vilification of Shaw online is sad, but expected in the culture we live in. He made a bad mistake, and from all accounts has genuinely apologized for it. Now he must face the consequences of his actions. Moving forward we will see if he learned his lesson. It would be a real shame if Game 4 was the last time we saw Shaw in a Hawks sweater, as he is a free agent this summer.

A Chicago Tribune sports reporter, who happens to be openly gay, wrote an honest and fair column regarding the situation. Christopher Hine talks about his past positive interactions with Shaw, and praised Shaw on Twitter for  not ducking the media, and seeking him out personally to talk after today’s presser, for what it’s worth. It’s linked below:

On the ice, his absence will hurt the Hawks who currently face elimination heading into Game 5 in St. Louis Thursday night.

Via The Chicago Tribune