Chicago Blackhawks call Pat Foley’s ‘bullet in my head’ remark ‘an absolutely unacceptable choice of words’

The Chicago Blackhawks on Tuesday came down hard on longtime TV announcer Pat Foley for a suicide metaphor he used during Monday’s season finale, a remark he later told viewers he regretted.

“We are incredibly disappointed in Pat Foley’s comments on our broadcast (Monday) evening — an absolutely unacceptable choice of words that trivialized mental health and suicide while discussing the challenges and loneliness the team may have faced during COVID-19 restrictions,” the team said in a statement.

“We know many of our fans and other community members are struggling with similar thoughts and feelings, especially after this trying year, and we want them to know their wellbeing is no joking matter. Mental health is of the utmost importance to the Blackhawks, and we are speaking to Pat further about his insensitivity.”

Foley, who called Hawks road games on NBC Sports Chicago remotely from Chicago rather than travel with the team this season, per NHL pandemic protocols, said he would have struggled to adhere to restrictions imposed on players and personnel on the road.

“Had I been traveling with the team this year, I might have put a bullet in my head,” Foley said.

Some viewers registered shock at the imagery via social media, and within minutes, Foley responded.

“I wish I didn’t say that,” Foley said. “I’m sorry if I offended some folks. Apparently I did, so I apologize.”

The incident during the 5-4 overtime home loss to the Dallas Stars was yet one more misplay in and around a 24-25-7 Hawks season full of them.

Foley just completed his 38th season as Blackhawks announcer on TV or radio, a run that began in 1981, included a two-season break and resumed in 2008.

Some fans will recall an earlier apology from Foley and the team after a 2019 exhibition game in Europe. During the game, he made a reference to Eisbären Berlin’s California-born forward Austin Ortega that played off ethnic stereotypes.

“Ortega, who sounds like he ought to be a shortstop ...,” Foley said.

Ortega declined to meet afterward with Foley, who expressed regret through Eisbären, while the Hawks issued their own statement concerning what they called “insensitive remarks” and said they would “not be commenting any further on the matter.”