December 5, 2013 Sections
Winnipeg Free Press - PRINT EDITION
EDUCATION, not punishment, was the focus of the Winnipeg Jets on Friday after a late-night Thursday incident which saw star left-winger Evander Kane use a homophobic term in a Twitter comment.
Watching Thursday's Game 4 of the NBA Finals between San Antonio and Miami, Kane posted a comment about a player flying towards the basket, using the word "fairy."
There was much back and forth on Twitter about the remark before Kane eventually deleted the tweet and issued an apology.
"Just spoke with Patrick Burke and @YouCanPlayTeam and would like to sincerely apologize for a tweet where I used a homophobic term. I made... a mistake and will learn from this. I apologize to anyone I offended by my tweet and this will not happen again. #YouCanPlay."
The Jets said Friday they would not make Kane available for any further comment but that the 22-year-old forward did have an in-person meeting with GM Kevin Cheveldayoff and team co-owner Mark Chipman regarding the matter.
Kane was in Winnipeg to have a surgical procedure on his foot earlier Thursday.
Jets spokesman Scott Brown said Friday the team appreciated the support from Burke in the matter and that the team has been invested in and is a "staunch proponent" of the "You Can Play" initiative, including helping out with public-service announcements from players like Dustin Byfuglien and Tanner Glass.
The "You Can Play" cause is significant in particular to the Jets because of True North's long-standing relationship with Burke's father, Brian, the former GM of the Vancouver Canucks.
Brown said the younger Burke spoke with both Cheveldayoff and Kane since Kane's comment was made.
"Our collective goal is to work with Evander, to offer him counsel on making better decisions on social media and Twitter," Brown said.
Thursday's remark is not the first time Kane has sparked debate with the use of his Twitter account.
Last fall during the NHL lockout, he posted a photo of himself in Las Vegas using a stack of bills as a mock phone.
It was an attempt at humour and maybe a bit of homage to boxer Floyd Mayweather, and when he was criticized as insensitive during the controversial lockout, Kane did not apologize.
Brown said Friday the Jets adhere to NHL policy on social media. The league has strongly encouraged its players and teams to use Twitter and other forms of social media as a means to engage fans, but will not censor input. The league does impose a game-day blackout on players, starting two hours before puck-drop.
The Jets and other teams routinely hold training sessions or seminars for players on social-media use.
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Republished from the Winnipeg Free Press print edition June 15, 2013 C1