Anaheim Ducks GM Resigns After Misconduct Allegations; One Of Several Toxic Work Environment Investigations At Major Sports Franchises

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One day after being placed on administrative leave due to a “professional conduct” investigation, Anaheim Ducks Executive Vice President/General Manager Bob Murray resigned his position, effective immediately, saying he will enroll in an alcohol-treatment program. It’s one of several high-profile sports scandals to emerge in the past week or so alleging inappropriate behavior by team executives.

“I want to apologize to anyone adversely affected by my behavior,” Murray said in a statement released by the team today. “I vow to make changes to my life, starting with enrolling in a treatment program. I want to thank (team owners) Henry and Susan Samueli, along with (CEO) Michael Schulman, as working for them has been one of the highlights of my career.

“As I step away from the Ducks, I will focus my attention on where it should be: improving my life for the betterment of my family and friends.”

The Samuelis issued a joint statement saying, “First and foremost, we apologize on behalf of the organization to anyone affected by misconduct from Bob. We expect every member of our organization to be treated with respect and will not stand for abuse of any kind.

“Bob tendered his resignation this morning, while also informing us of his decision to enter an alcohol abuse program. While we do not condone his conduct, we fully support his efforts to improve his physical and mental health by asking for help. We will now begin a methodical, extensive search for a permanent general manager to lead us forward. We expect to complete this process no later than next summer.”

Murray joined the team in 2005 and served as general manager since 2008. He previously worked for the Vancouver Canucks and Chicago Blackhawks. He spent roughly 15 years as a player with the Blackhawks.

The Ducks announced Tuesday that Vice President of Hockey Operations and Assistant General Manager Jeff Solomon will fill the role of general manager on an interim basis.

The team has never specified the exact behavioral issues that led to Murray being placed on leave before his departure. At least one media report, citing people familiar with Murray and the team, described a toxic work environment that included verbal abuse and harassment of employees and players.

The NHL issued a statement saying it supports Murray’s decision to resign, and suggested the probe was sparked by calls to a league hotline for reporting harassment and other issues.

“While we understand that he is seeking appropriate counseling and treatment for his personal issues, there is not excuse and there is no place in our league for the type of behavior that was recently reported through the NHL Hotline,” according to the league. “We thank the Ducks’ organization for its prompt and appropriate response to the Hotline reports. The league and its clubs are committed to a safe and welcoming workplace across the NHL and will continue to take any and all action necessary to achieve that goal.”

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The NBA last week launched an investigation into Phoenix Suns majority owner Robert Sarver in the wake of an ESPN expose in which current and former Suns employees described a toxic and hostile workplace under Sarver.

On Friday, the Portland Trail Blazers opened an investigation into their President of Basketball Operations Neil Olshey, whom employees alleged created a toxic, hostile work environment rife with bullying.

City News Service contributed to this report.

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