When I heard about this story I thought it was absolutely ridiculous, and a massive overreaction from the National Hockey League because of pressure from interest groups that likely have very little interest in the actual on the ice product.
With that said, Blackhawks forward Andrew Shaw hasn't done the best job of handling the situation, and as a result has come out looking a little worse than he should be right now. When first asked about the comments Shaw denied even remembering what was said, and it is possible that he said it in the heat of the moment and didn't realize what was said.
The problem is Shaw has now come out and apologized for his comments, effectively admitting his guilt, likely after a great deal of pressure from the Blackhawks and from the NHL compelled him to do so.
"I am sincerely sorry for the insensitive remarks that I made last night while in the penalty box. When I got home and saw the video, it was evident that what I did was wrong, no matter the cifcumstances. I apologize to many people, including the gay and lesbian community, the Chicago Blackhawks organization, Blackhawks fans and anyone else I may have offended. I know my words were hurtful and I will learn from my mistake."
There's another issue here, while yes Shaw did use a word that is often considered a "homophobic slur," is there any evidence suggesting that he used it in this context? Or was it simply a verbal jab directed at an official or player he disagreed with?