The AHL announced a five-game suspension for Edmonton Oilers veteran defenseman Brandon Manning on Tuesday afternoon. Manning was assigned to the AHL’s Bakersfield Condors in late December and has played in ten games for the club.
Manning suited up for Bakersfield in the club’s 3-0 loss to Ontario on Monday afternoon, a game in which he earned his five-game suspension and then some.
As per the league, Manning was suspended under the provisions of AHL rule 23.9 for use of a racial slur.
The American Hockey League today announced that Bakersfield Condors defenseman Brandon Manning has been suspended for five (5) games as a consequence of his actions in a game at Ontario on Jan. 20.
Manning was suspended after being assessed a game misconduct under the provisions of AHL Rule 23.9 for use of a racial slur towards an opponent.
Manning released a statement through the Condors on Tuesday. He apologized for his actions and admitted a horrible mistake.
“Last night I made comments to an opposing player that were stupid and offensive. After the game I spoke with the opposing player in person, which I’m very grateful for. He allowed me to apologize and I took full responsibility for what I said.
To say I’ve learned from this situation is an understatement and I promise to be better.”
Oilers Assistant GM and Condors GM Keith Gretzky also released a statement. Gretzky expressed his disappointed on Tuesday afternoon.
“We are aware of an unacceptable comment directed toward an Ontario Reign player by Bakersfield Condors defencemen Brandon Manning during last night’s game. This is a very serious matter, we are disappointed by Brandon’s comment and we fully support the American Hockey League’s decision. The Oilers and Condors organizations wholeheartedly believe in a respectful workplace and will work to better educate our players on appropriate conduct on and off the ice.”
You can say whatever you want about Manning being good in the room, about Manning handling a tough situation with grace this season and how he’s a fine seventh defenseman. Absolutely none of that matters. Manning’s actions are completely unacceptable and have no place in society.
It absolutely baffles me that someone could do what Manning did, especially after Akim Aliu so bravely spoke out about Bill Peters earlier this season. The NHL and sport of hockey are trying to fight a racism issue. Manning will now be the poster child among modern players for this kind of disgusting behavior.
For that reason, it is hard to have any sympathy for the player. There is making an honest mistake and then there is hurling racial slurs at opponents. It is way over the line and quite frankly has no place in the sport of hockey. In the grand scheme of things, Manning’s five-game suspension is only a slap on the wrist for his actions. Quite frankly, it is not enough.
A quick glance at the CBA doesn’t show a way out for the Oilers. Manning is a pending UFA but the club cannot terminate his contract for his actions, at least to my knowledge.
Terminating Manning’s deal would open a spot on the 50-man roster and would give the Oilers valuable cap space approaching the deadline. That doesn’t matter, however. The important thing is holding Manning accountable for his actions. Playing professional hockey is a privilege, not a right.
It feels wrong giving someone willing to use racial slurs that privilege of playing this game at a professional level.
He’s Now Toxic
Here’s the thing, the Oilers absolutely cannot recall Manning ever again. The Oilers are one of the most progressive organizations in hockey when it comes to racial inclusion and have a long history of giving people of color chances in the league.
Currently, Darnell Nurse, Caleb Jones and Jujhar Khaira all play on the team. How uncomfortable do you think it will be for them to have a player in the locker room that used a racial slur? I’ve luckily never been in their shoes and never will be. I can only imagine how uncomfortable they could be. It is an unfair position to put them in.
The Oilers should do the right thing and send Manning home for the rest of the season. He can’t come anywhere near their NHL roster and he is not a player that really matters in the grand scheme of things for the organization.
In my mind, and it appears the mind of a large portion of the fanbase, Manning has lost the right to wear the Orange and Blue. Send him home if you cannot void the contract. There is no place for these actions in professional hockey in 2020. The Oilers organization has the chance to send a stern message that this will not be accepted.