Adam Johnson’s death not only affected the whole sports world and the NHL but also the player who was directly involved in contact with Johnson’s throat. Matt Petgrave who’s been suspected of manslaughter has received severe backlash from the public.
On Tuesday, the South Yorkshire Police Department arrested a man in charge of Jonhson’s “freak accident”, but they revealed on Wednesday that the suspect was bailed. Although the name of the suspect was not released by the police, many reports believe it was Petgrave whose skates sliced Johnson’s throat.
Amid speculations and severe backlash from pundits and fans, Petgrave’s former GM Cary Kalpan came to the defenceman’s support. According to him, it was a “tragic accident” which was not intentional by any means.
He also stated that the player who was most affected by this whole incident was none other than Petgrave. Even if the incident and police state it as an accident, the fact that his act fatally harmed another player will probably be stuck with him for life.
“Matt Petgrave’s going to deal with this his whole life, and all indications are it’s been devastating for him. The suggestions of manslaughter…is absurd.”
Cary Kaplan via phone interview with The Canadian Press.
His former general manager Cary Kaplan also pointed out how fans and some mainstream news outlets suggested that Matt Petgrave intentionally hurt Adam Johnson. He highlighted the racial comments the Steelers defenceman received since the incident.
“He got insults…some of them are racially motivated. And then there are people suggesting he did awful things, and throwing around words that are totally inappropriate.”
The Nottingham Panthers also called this a “freak accident” and came in support of Petgrave who was receiving backlash from the public. They said it was not at all intentional and no one should bash the player when it’s time to support him mentally.
Although no direct comments were made by Petgrave, reports said that he was “devasted” by the whole incident. Kaplan further took comments from Panthers players stating that before bashing Petgrave one should know the sport well.
In a recent post, it was shown that Petgrave was showered with claps as their team took on ice. It was a way for them to show their love and support, but many were not happy with this act. NHL is a dangerous sport where players often clash and hit each other. Kaplan noted via The Canadian Press:
“The players from Nottingham…several of them that were right there and could see it…came out in support of Matt Petgrave”.
He further said that Petgrave plays an “aggressive style of hockey” but in a positive way. “It’s a tragedy” that Johnson died during this incident, but it was no more than an accident. The police department stated that they’ll further investigate the case to delve deeper into what transpired and if Petgrave should be held responsible for it or not.