Flyers’ Gratton Denies Racial Slur
PHILADELPHIA (AP) _ Philadelphia Flyers player Chris Gratton spoke Friday about allegations that he had made a racial slur to black Florida Panthers player Peter Worrell during Thursday night’s game.
``Under no circumstances did I say anything like that,″ Gratton said Friday after a practice session.
When the two players were in a scuffle behind the net Gratton said something. Several reporters watching video of the event said it looked like Gratton called Worrell an ``ape.″
``I would never, ever say that, disrespect Peter like that,″ Gratton said.
When asked about the incident after the game, Worrell said, ``If he said something, I didn’t hear it.″
Gratton said it is frustrating to deal with the allegation.
``I don’t know who started this, but it’s unbelievable,″ Gratton said. ``I’d apologize, but I never said it.″
Worrell, one of the few black players in the NHL, has dealt with racism throughout his career.
As a minor-league player, he had a banana peel thrown at him. Someone once used another racial slur at him over a hockey arena’s public-address system.
Last season, Craig Berube of the Washington Capitals used another slur against Worrell. The NHL suspended Berube for a game.
That happened within days of yet another slur used by Chris Simon against black Edmonton player Mike Grier. Simon apologized; he was suspended for three games.