Aliu accepts equipment manager's apology for blackface incident

AAron Ontiveroz/MediaNews Group/The Denver Post via Getty Images / Denver Post / Getty

The minor-league equipment manager who went to a 2011 Halloween party dressed in blackface as Akim Aliu apologized directly to the player and will keep his job.

Colorado Eagles owner Martin Lind said in a statement Tuesday that he and Tony Deynzer, the staffer in question, spoke with Aliu separately about the "unacceptable racist incident."

Deynzer "offered a heartfelt and emotional apology directly to Mr. Aliu which Mr. Aliu accepted," said Lind, who added that Aliu requested that Deynzer not lose his job.

Aliu confirmed as much in a statement of his own.

"My conversation with Mr. Lind was a tough one but a necessary one," the former player said. "I believe that we must confront racism head-on. I believe the time for big, positive change in the sport has arrived and that this moment can be used to promote diversity, inclusiveness, and safety in the sport and our community."

Lind's "candid" conversation with Aliu focused on the incident and more broadly on promoting diversity in the sport at all levels, the team owner said.

Aliu first divulged details of the incident to the Wall Street Journal's Andrew Beaton last week, after which the Eagles publicly apologized, placed Deynzer on administrative leave, and claimed no prior knowledge.

The Eagles have employed Deynzer since 2003.

They were the Winnipeg Jets' ECHL team in 2011, and are now the AHL affiliate of the Colorado Avalanche.

In late November, Aliu revealed former Calgary Flames head coach Bill Peters repeatedly directed the N-word toward him while the two were with the AHL's Rockford IceHogs in 2009-10. Peters resigned from the Flames shortly thereafter.

Aliu accepts equipment manager's apology for blackface incident
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