NBC hockey analyst Pierre McGuire issued a short statement Thursday after receiving vast criticism online for mansplaining hockey to gold medalist Kendall Coyne Schofield.
Coyne contributed to NBCSN’s coverage of the Pittsburgh Penguins-Tampa Bay Lightning game Wednesday night, serving as an analyst inside the glass and in the booth.
The Emmy-winning sports reporter expressed regret but did not apologize for his actions, saying that he “should have chosen my words better.”
“I’ve known Kendall for years and have had the privilege of covering her as a member of Team USA at the past two Winter Olympics,” McGuire said in the statement. “We were all thrilled to have her join our coverage last night, but at times my excitement got the better of me and I should have chosen my words better. I have the utmost respect for Kendall as a world-class player, analyst of the game, and role model.”
Coyne’s first moments as a national TV analyst began with awkwardness. “Tampa’s gonna be on your left, Pittsburgh’s gonna be on your right,” McGuire explained, dripping with superiority. “What are you expecting out of this game? We’re paying you to be an analyst, not to be a fan tonight!”
— CJ Fogler (@cjzero) January 31, 2019
The weirdness didn’t stop there. During another awkward moment, McGuire told Kendall that he’d be “your cage tonight.”
"I'll be your cage tonight, how's that?
Pierre, please just stop. pic.twitter.com/trmTyYLKob
— Cristiano Simonetta (@CMS_74_) January 31, 2019
“I’ve known Pierre McGuire for years. I know he respects me as a hockey player, a woman, and a friend and that is why I didn’t think twice about our on-air exchange when it happened,” Coyne said in a statement on Twitter. “I didn’t give it a second thought until after the game when I received countless messages. I went back and looked at the video. I understand why people would think it was inappropriate; if I were watching it at home and saw a man say this to a woman athlete, I would have been offended. But what I also know is how excited Pierre was for me and to be a part of this moment. While I wish it came out differently, I know Pierre doesn’t question my hockey knowledge.”
Coyne made clear she loved the experience and hoped to do it again in the future.
“Last night was magical, nerve-wracking and incredible,” Coyne continued. “I learned two things: I loved being a part of it and I need to get better. All of THAT I control.”
— NHL on NBC (@NHLonNBCSports) January 31, 2019
Friday, Coyne became the first woman ever to participate in the NHL’s All-Star Skills Competition. The six-time world champion replaced Nathan MacKinnon in the Fastest Skater event and finished only one second behind the eventual winner, Connor McDavid.
NBC, in an effort to be more inclusive, asked the gold-medal winner to be a part of their national telecast of the Pittsburgh Penguins-Tampa Bay Lightning game
The TV appearance was supposed to be the exclamation point to one of the best weeks of Kendall’s life, instead, it shrouded it in controversy.
“My week started with competing in the NHL All-Star game and ended with calling an NHL game,” Coyne said. “To say it was one of the most incredible weeks of my life wouldn’t come close to doing it service. But what made this week even more meaningful is knowing that it was much bigger than me. People joke about my size but what I can tell you is I’ve learned these shoulders are strong enough to carry the weight and responsibility I feel, not just to myself, but to all of the young girls who have watched my week and now know what is possible for them.”
Coyne used Pierre’s slip-ups to continue the national discussion and encourage more women to have confidence in themselves.
“What IS important is for every young girl reading this to know it doesn’t matter what anyone thinks of my hockey knowledge – because I do not doubt my hockey knowledge,” Coyne said. “I didn’t need a gold medal to come to that conclusion. I needed belief in myself. That took time to build and I would never let someone else undo all of that work on the ice – and especially off.”
This past week… pic.twitter.com/h73xEA6QWc
— Kendall Coyne Schofield (@KendallCoyne) January 31, 2019
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