ESPN's P.K. Subban takes heat for Lizzo joke after Leafs-Panthers game

The former NHL star's "Lizzo-sized lunch" comment has him in hot water online.

P.K. Subban has never been one to shy away from the spotlight, from breaking the mould of the low-key hockey player to his significant efforts with various charity initiatives.

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.

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.

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.”

P.K. Subban's
P.K. Subban's "Lizzo-sized lunch" comment has him in hot water online. (Photo by Jaylynn Nash/NHLI via Getty Images)

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.