Less than four months after the New York Rangers hockey team signed a two-year, $9.6-million deal with defenseman Tony DeAngelo, and less than a month since DeAngelo criticized Twitter for banning former President Trump, the team has put him on waivers.
“If they let Parler back up at some point I will be on Parler. Until then I will not be using social media apps,” DeAngelo reportedly posted on his Instagram account, and told USA Today, “If they let Parler back up at some point I will be on Parler. Until then I will not be using social media apps.” Google removed the Parler app in January, labeling the social media app a “public safety threat,” and saying that it “seeks to incite ongoing violence in the US.”
When USA Today asked DeAngelo why he chose to defend Parler he said, “Freedom of speech,” and continued:
Everyone is entitled to any opinion they have. I didn’t like what happened at the Capitol, that has nothing to do with me moving to Parler. I’m focused on hockey now and that’s really it. I won’t comment on anything more politically. I have my opinions, others have theirs.
According to The Athletic, DeAngelo had an altercation with Rangers goaltender Alexandar Georgiev in the tunnel after Saturday’s loss to the Pittsburgh Penguins, which may have influenced the team’s decision to put DeAngelo on waivers Sunday morning.
David Quinn, the team’s head coach, replied to reports of the incident by saying, “There’s always rumors, as you know, I’m not going to address rumors,” and continued:
This isn’t about one incident. It’s not about one thing. It’s a situation the organization felt was best at this current time and we’ll see how the situation plays out.
It’s part of the business. It’s a decision we made. You’re always sitting down, evaluating your organization. It’s something we did. We’ll see how it plays out. … I don’t want to get into specifics. In 24 hours we’ll probably be able to be more specific and address the situation differently.
Quinn said Tony Bitetto will replace DeAngelo during Monday’s game.
DeAngelo’s teammates were saddened by the situation. Jacob Trouba said, “We had a player put on waivers. It’s not something as players that you’re very happy about, he’s one of our friends, That’s the business of the game. It’s a little bit of a somber mood, but at the same time, you gotta be a professional. You’ve got to do your job. ”
Mika Zibanejad said, “Right now, Tony’s our teammate. You don’t want anyone to go through that and be put in that situation… we’re human beings and it’s not an easy thing to maybe deal with, but we just have to find a way.”