Former NFL player turned radio presenter, Jermaine Wiggins, has caused a stir with his controversial comments suggesting that the late hockey player Adam Johnson was intentionally kicked by his opponent in the accident that tragically took his life. Johnson, who played for the Nottingham Panthers in England, died at the age of 29 after colliding with Matt Petgrave of the Sheffield Steelers over the weekend.
During a discussion about the incident on The Greg Hill show, Wiggins claimed, “I guess the other player, I’m forgetting his name, I’m drawing a blank right now but they’ve said he had some situations in the past. When you look at it – look at it again – he kind of kicks him. It looks like it wasn’t an accident.” However, his co-hosts quickly dismissed his theory, with one exclaiming, “No! It doesn’t look anywhere near intentional. What are you talking about? No, it doesn’t at all (look deliberate).”
The conversation took an even more inappropriate turn when another co-host, Chris Curtis, made a tasteless comment about wanting a skate to the neck when Mac Jones threw an interception. Fellow host Courtney Cox audibly groaned in dismay at his crass remark. Wiggins persisted with his argument, stating, “I think you need to look at it again. If you look at the video, it does kind of look like a kick.”
Tragically, accidents like this have occurred before in hockey. In 2022, Teddy Balkind, a 10th-grade student at St. Luke’s private school in Connecticut, died after having his throat cut by another player’s blade. A similar incident happened to Clint Malarchuk in 1989 during an NHL game, where he survived but required 300 stitches to close a six-inch wound and lost 1.5 liters of blood.
The Nottingham Panthers released an emotional statement expressing their devastation over Johnson’s passing and extending their condolences to his family, partner, and friends. Sheffield also pledged to support Matt Petgrave and their team in the best possible way.
Wiggins, who had a successful NFL career from 1999 to 2007 and won a Super Bowl with the New England Patriots in 2001, has yet to comment further on his controversial remarks. We have reached out to WEEI, the broadcaster of The Greg Hill show, for their response.