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Ron MacLean apologizes for ‘tarp off’ comment during Hockey Night in Canada

Click to play video: 'Ron MacLean’s ‘tarp off’ comment during Hockey Night in Canada broadcast prompts backlash, apology' Ron MacLean’s ‘tarp off’ comment during Hockey Night in Canada broadcast prompts backlash, apology
WATCH: Ron MacLean's ‘tarp off’ comment during Hockey Night in Canada broadcast prompts backlash, apology – May 26, 2021

Longtime Coach’s Corner host Ron MacLean has apologized for a comment he made during Tuesday’s game between Toronto Maple Leafs and Montreal Canadiens that caused some outrage.

During an intermission in Game 4, Maclean was talking with panelist Kevin Bieksa and laughing about a shirtless picture on the shelf behind him.

“I am probably the most positive guy on this panel. We can probably agree on that,” Bieksa said while commenting about a play from the game. “But I don’t like that play at all, and I guarantee you [Eric] Staal will watch that replay and he won’t like it either.”

“You have a photo of a guy with his tarp off, you’re definitely positive for something,” MacLean said.

Right after he made the remark, panelist Jennifer Botterill makes a face possibly expressing her discomfort.

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MacLean said in a statement he is “deeply sorry” and that he regrets the moment.

MacLean said earlier in the show they had a fun moment with a photograph of Sportsnet analyst Anthony Stewart enjoying a rum party.

That photo was on a shelf in the background of analyst Kevin Bieksa’s set for the rest of the night.

Read more: Don Cherry refuses to apologize for ‘you people’ rant in aftermath of poppy controversy

MacLean said in his statement he was referring to testing positive for rum, though he understands that “when others are within ‘earshot’ of a two-way conversation, the potential for misunderstanding exists.”

Many took to social media to express their anger towards MacLean, after he made the comment, calling it homophobic. Some were even calling for his resignation.

“If you only heard that last line in isolation, I completely understand how that misunderstanding occurred,” MacLean said.

“I am deeply sorry.”

The controversy comes more than a year-and-a-half after Sportsnet fired former Coach’s Corner co-host Don Cherry following televised remarks he made implying immigrants don’t wear poppies.

— With files from The Canadian Press

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