Blackhawks announcer Pat Foley under fire for on-air suicide reference

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Chicago Blackhawks announcer Pat Foley is taking heat for referencing suicide during the team’s season finale, saying he would’ve “put a bullet” in his head if he had to travel with players amid the league’s COVID-19 restrictions.

Foley, who was wrapping up his 38th season Monday as the Blackhawks TV or radio announcer, made the remark while commenting on the team’s travel restriction on players and personnel during the pandemic.

“Had I been traveling with the team this year, I might have put a bullet in my head,” Foley said during the broadcast, the Chicago Tribune reported.

Foley has called Blackhawks road games on NBC Sports Chicago remotely from the Windy City instead of traveling with the team, the newspaper reported.

Minutes later, Foley said he regretted his word choice.

“I wish I didn’t say that,” he said. “I’m sorry if I offended some folks. Apparently I did, so I apologize.”

Reaction on social media was swift, with some people saying Foley’s apology left them unsatisfied. Adding insult to Foley’s remarks, the Blackhawks went on to lost 5-4 in overtime against the Dallas Stars.

“Pat Foley may have apologized for those comments he made, but words matter,” one tweet read. “Words have consequences, too. Have to be very careful.”

Others were less offended while insisting that Foley would not fall victim to getting canceled. But some insisted the veteran announcer could have more accurately said he needed “far better coping skills” to deal with the impact of COVID-19 on the league.

“The apology was insincere,” another tweet read. “He was upset that he had to apologize after all he is the ‘Great Pat Foley.’ Legend in his own mind.”

The Tribune noted that Foley also made a racially insensitive comment during a 2019 exhibition game in Europe, where he referenced Eisbären Berlin forward Austin Ortega, whom he said “sounds like he should be a shortstop” due to his last name.

Messages seeking comment on Foley from the Blackhawks and NHL officials were not immediately returned Tuesday.

The Illinois native has won multiple Emmys throughout his career and was inducted into the Chicagoland Sports Hall of Fame in 2002, according to his team bio. He was also named as the Hockey Hall of Fame Foster Hewitt Memorial Award winner in 2014 for outstanding contributions as a hockey broadcaster.

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