Flames Coach Bill Peters Resigns After Being Accused of Using Racial Slur


Bill Peters resigned as the coach of the Calgary Flames, a National Hockey League team based in Alberta, on Friday, just days after he was accused of using a racial slur against a player a decade ago.

The general manager of the Flames, Brad Treliving, received and accepted a resignation letter from Peters on Friday morning. “Effective immediately, Bill Peters is no longer a member of the Calgary Flames organization,” he said in a statement on the team’s Twitter account.

The player, Akim Aliu, who was born in Nigeria, said on Twitter on Monday that when he was playing for a minor league team a decade ago, Peters, who is white, “dropped the N bomb several times toward me in the dressing room in my rookie year because he didn’t like my choice of music.”

Aliu said that he “rebelled” against the coach for using the slur, and that Peters retaliated by advising executives to demote Aliu to a lower-level league.

On Tuesday, the N.H.L. said in a statement that Peters’s alleged behavior was “repugnant and unacceptable,” and Treliving said the team had opened an investigation into Aliu’s allegations.

In a letter to Treliving on Wednesday, Peters apologized for using “offensive language.” He said that he knew his comments “have been the source of both anger and disappointment,” and that he took responsibility for the things he had said.

Bob McKenzie, a hockey commentator and reporter with TSN Hockey, shared that letter in a Twitter post on Wednesday. A spokesman for the Flames confirmed the letter’s authenticity on Thursday.

“I was rightfully challenged about my use of language, and I immediately returned to the dressing room to apologize to the team,” Peters wrote. “I have regretted the incident since it happened, and I now also apologize to anyone negatively affected by my words.”

The letter did not mention Aliu by name.

In a statement on Twitter on Thursday, Aliu said he found the letter from Peters to be “misleading, insincere and concerning.”

“I have accepted an invitation from the N.H.L. to meet and discuss this situation,” he added. “Out of respect for that process I will not respond publicly to the statement or discuss the racism and discrimination that I have endured until after my meeting.”

Aliu’s accusations date to the 2009-10 season, when he played for the Rockford IceHogs, a minor league affiliate of the Chicago Blackhawks.

Aliu expanded on his allegations with TSN, a Canadian network. He told the network that Peters had shouted racial slurs at him in front of other players. Two of his former teammates corroborated his account, the network said.

Afterward, Peters “walked out like nothing ever happened,” Aliu said.

More allegations against Peters emerged on Wednesday, when he was accused of punching and kicking players while he was coaching the Carolina Hurricanes, The Associated Press reported.

Another scandal over racist language in the world of Canadian hockey erupted earlier this month when Don Cherry, a fixture of the “Hockey Night in Canada” television broadcasts, was fired after making rambling remarks on-air that were widely viewed as attacks on the patriotism of immigrants.

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