But after some distasteful on-air comments Tuesday night following the Florida Panthers' Game 1 victory over the Toronto Maple Leafs, some viewers are expressing displeasure with the retired blueliner.
Describing a lacklustre Maple Leafs performance that saw them score just two goals on home ice, ESPN co-host John Buccigross explained that Toronto needed to “pack a lunch,” referencing the team’s lack of energy. Playing off the comments, Subban interjected, attempting to reinforce Buccigross’s point.
“Listen, maybe they need to pack a Lizzo-sized lunch,” Subban said, referring to the plus-size Grammy-winning rapper.
“Lizzo sized lunch”😭😭😭
P.K. SUBBAN IS WILD💀💀💀 pic.twitter.com/VgqOQ0eXMd
— KuttaBanda (@dreamzz_kidd) May 3, 2023
Social media reaction to the comment was nearly immediate, with some calling for Subban and ESPN to apologize. Neither party has issued any statement as of yet.
Sis Pk Subban really just say “Lizzo sized lunch?” That’s… not acceptable. That’s fatphobic.
— Maya 🌸 (@OstrowskiMaya) May 3, 2023
Subban uh oh.
— Tony X (@soIoucity) May 3, 2023
It's getting harder & harder to enjoy PK Subban. And before the "I thought you wanted hockey players to show more personality!" brigade comes through, nobody ever said we want them to be casually cruel or bigoted. We're not so starved for personalities that we'll embrace garbage.
— Melissa Geschwind (@MGeschwind) May 3, 2023
pk subban going from a cool likable guy to a misogynist asshole that speaks for people he doesn’t represent in the span of two months pic.twitter.com/ko4d3oIHOW
— random hockey thoughts (@stressedhockey) May 3, 2023
so hockey fans were on jack edwards for inappropriate comments about a man's body but pk subban can say something as inappropriate about a woman on air and hockey fans think its hilarious? just making sure i got my math right.
— grace roberts (@GRobs87651) May 3, 2023
PK Subban saying someone needed a Lizzo sized lunch? Seems like a harmful thing to say. @PKSubban1
— lindsey ... (@leholmes52) May 3, 2023
This isn’t the first time Subban has found himself in hot water in recent months. As several teams and players chose not to participate in Pride Nights during the back half of the NHL season, Subban shared his stance on the matter, saying the burden shouldn’t be on players to use their platform in support of social justice causes.
“We cannot push everyone to be an activist, we need to be very careful," Subban said at the time. "I feel people pick and choose what they want to talk about and I don't like it when we put the onus on athletes to be activists.”
Subban joined ESPN’s hockey coverage last fall, signing a three-year deal with the network, according to a report from the Associated Press in November.
The longtime NHL blueliner played 834 career games, tallying 115 goals and 467 points. He won the Norris Trophy as the league’s top defenseman in 2013.