Akim Aliu releases statement in response to Bill Peters apology

David Amber, Brian Burke, Anthony Stewart and Justin Bourne discuss the statements from Bill Peters and Akim Aliu on Hockey Central at Noon.

Akim Aliu released a statement Thursday morning responding to Wednesday night’s apology from Calgary Flames head coach Bill Peters.

I have read the statement of Bill Peters, which I found to be misleading, insincere and concerning. I have accepted an invitation from the NHL to meet and discuss this situation. 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.

On Monday night, Aliu alleged on Twitter that Peters had directed a racial slur towards him “several times” while the two were together in the AHL. Aliu played for Peters when he was head coach of the Rockford IceHogs, Chicago’s AHL affiliate, for five games in the 2008-09 season and 48 games in 2009-10. Aliu also appeared in 13 games for the ECHL’s Toledo Walleye in ’09-10.

Since then, Peters has not run a practice for the Flames and was not on the bench for their Wednesday night game in Buffalo. He also did not join the team on their charter flight back to Calgary.

During Calgary’s game against Buffalo, Peters released an apology to the Flames in regards to the incident involving Aliu, though he did not name the player.

“Please accept this as a sincere apology to you, and the entire Calgary Flames organization, for offensive language I used in a professional setting a decade ago,” wrote Peters, in his first statement since the allegations were made.

“I know that my comments have been the source of both anger and disappointment, and I understand why. Although it was an isolated and immediately regrettable incident, I take responsibility for what I said. The statement was made in a moment of frustration and does not reflect my personal values. After the incident, I was rightfully challenged about my use of language, and I immediately returned to the dressing room to apologize to the team. I have regretted the incident since it happened, and I now also apologize to anyone negatively affected by my words.

“I am aware that there is no excuse for language that is offensive. I meant no disrespect in what I said, and it was not directed at anyone in particular. But, that doesn’t matter; it was hurtful and demeaning. I am truly sorry. I accept the reality of my actions. I do believe that we must strive to act with integrity, and to take accountability for what we say and do. This letter is intended to do exactly that; I hope it is accepted as intended.

“I appreciate the thorough review of this situation being undertaken by the Flames. It’s the right thing to do, and I support it fully.”

He signed the letter at the bottom.

Flames GM Brad Treliving spoke to the media shortly after and reiterated the team’s investigation was ongoing.

“Earlier this evening we received a letter from Bill Peters – a statement in the form of a letter to me, released through the media,” said Treliving, choosing his words carefully.

“It has been a difficult three days for everyone. We’ve tried to be as transparent as possible. This investigation we’re doing … I know everyone wants everything done immediately, and the world we live in is immediate.

“We are not trying to stall or take time or drag our feet. It’s a serious matter and it’s involving serious subject matter and I just want to make sure we are doing a thorough job in looking under every stone, rock and doing all things that need to be done.

“This letter tonight is part of this we’ll obviously review. And I’m hopeful we’ll have an update (Thursday). I’m always hesitant to put timelines. But I just hope people can appreciate we’re doing everything we possibly can to make sure we do this right and get all the information we can.”

The Flames’ next game is Saturday at home against the Ottawa Senators.

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