Most Read


NHL Coach Offers Heartfelt Apology After Making Sexist Comment—And Fans Are Applauding

Tampa Bay Lightning coach Jon Cooper apologized after griping at a press conference following a playoff loss that 'we might has well put skirts on' the goalies.

Tampa Bay Lightning coach Jon Cooper at press conference
Bally Sports

An NHL coach who made remarks that were regarded as misogynistic was later praised for his very sincere apologetic statement on Wednesday.

Jon Cooper, a pro hockey head coach for the Tampa Bay Lightning, complained about the team's playoff series loss on Monday during a post-game press conference.

Tampa Bay had lost to the Florida Panthers on Monday in Game 5 of their first-round series, forcing Cooper to angrily question officials who disqualified two of his team's goals during the first and second periods due to interference with a Panthers goaltender.

Without thinking of the consequences, Cooper made the following heated argument with reporters:

“Net front battles aren’t allowed anymore? That’s part of everybody’s game, is like the boxing out that goes there. It’s like prison rules in the playoffs, but it’s not prison rules for the goalie?”
“The second something happens, we might as well put skirts on them then if that’s how it’s gonna be."

"It’s a war down there and I think we’re letting the goalies off the hook," he said, adding, "They’ve got way more pads on than everybody else does.”

Cooper's fiery comment invokes an outdated and sexist perspective that the male players were as non-aggressive out on the ice as female athletes.

His "skirt" remark also has homophobic undertones. The athletic capabilities of gay athletes have frequently been undermined in the world of sports, and they are often taunted for playing "like a girl."

It's the kind of harmful locker-room banter that either discourages queer athletes from pursuing sports or prevents them from coming out.

The coach found himself in hot water.

After finally losing the series 6-1, Cooper acknowledged his words' negative impact on Wednesday and offered a formal apology.

You can watch the clip here.

He expressed his regrets at the press conference, saying:

"I made an inappropriate analogy about goalies and skirts."
"You know, it’s one of those moments if you could just reach back and grab the words back, I would have."

Cooper, who is a father to twin daughters, said he had a family discussion about the matter.

He said:

"As the father of two, and especially as a massive supporter of women’s hockey, and I have girls that play sports."
"So, quite frankly, it was wrong."
"I had to go explain myself to my girls."

He added:

“I sincerely apologize to all who I offended."
"It’s pained me more than the actual series loss itself."

He was lauded for facing the issue and owning up to his poor word choices.

Brock McGillis, a former ice hockey goaltender who was one of the first NHL players to come out as gay, lauded Cooper for his apology.

“I’m not surprised that he was introspective, recognized that his words matter and apologized,” wrote McGillis on X (formerly Twitter) in a now-private post.

The LGBTQ+ advocate added:

“We all say or do the wrong thing. Be accountable, apologize and don’t do it again."

Nicely done, coach.