It has been a pretty bad stretch for veteran National Hockey League defenseman Brandon Manning and on Friday Manning's bad news sundae received it's proverbial cherry on top.
For those of you who have not been paying attention to what has been going on with Manning since he was demoted to the American Hockey League, the veteran defenseman landed himself in some very hot water back in January. Manning was hit with a big time 5 game suspension from the American Hockey League when he used a racial slur to mock on opposing player. This was no mere accusation against Manning either as the long time NHL defenseman took full ownership of the comment in a statement he released via the Edmonton Oilers official website.
Here is that statement unedited and in full:
"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." -- Brandon Manning
No doubt the suspension to Manning came as a major embarrassment to the Oilers organization, a team that Manning remains under contract with in spite of the fact that he has been toiling in the AHL as of late. I suspect that the Oilers will be in no rush to call him back up to the main roster after this incident, but the consequences for Manning go beyond both the suspension as well as his potentially damaged reputation. On Friday night Boko Imama a African-Canadian player currently playing for the Ontario Reign, the AHL affiliate team of the Los Angeles Kings, was on the ice for Manning's first game back since using the racial slur, and he was sure to let Manning know that the suspension would be the least of his concerns.
Imama immediately went after Manning and the players would drop their gloves right after the puck had dropped on the faceoff, and unfortunately for Manning it was fairly obvious that he was outmatched in this one. Who knows how many other players will challenge Manning before the end of the season.