It would appear the New York Rangers have reached their limit with Tony DeAngelo. The team placed the fire-brand defenseman on waivers Sunday afternoon according to ESPN, thus ending his tenure with the Blueshirts that began in 2017. While often being a scoring highlight on the Rangers' blueline during that time, DeAngelo has been equally known for his off-ice behavior, notably in the form of his near-every day inflammatory tweets in support of former President Donald Trump and against anyone who disagreed with or questioned his extreme right-wing beliefs.
After the Rangers' team practice Sunday, at which DeAngelo was not present, Head Coach David Quinn told reporters (via The New York Post), "It's a decision we made as an organization." When asked if the decision was entirely based on his play thus far this season or if it had to do with his off-ice behavior, Quinn responded, "In 24 hours, we'll be able to probably be a little more specific and address the situation differently."
With nearly any other player in the NHL, the questions about why they were put on waivers would almost certainly be strictly about their playing abilities. But with Tony DeAngelo and his past, deciphering the why and how of what happened is a bit more complicated. In 2013, while playing for the Sarnia Sting of the OHL, DeAngelo was suspended for 8 games by his own team and the league for making inappropriate statements to a teammate. This was the second time he was suspended for violating the league's harassment, abuse, and diversity policy. While the specifics of what he did to earn the suspensions have never been fully revealed, DeAngelo's own father all but confirmed it was the result of his son's use of hateful slurs in a 2014 interview:
November of the same year, he was suspended for another game for abusing an official. In January of 2017, now playing in the NHL for the Arizona Coyotes, DeAngelo was suspended for 3 games for physical abuse of an official.
Despite all his prior issues and punishments, the Rangers took a chance on DeAngelo's talents and traded for him in June of 2017. DeAngelo was productive for the Rangers, scoring 19 goals and 73 assists in his 167 games with the team. But even with his productivity on the ice, DeAngelo would often make headlines for what he did off of it. DeAngelo was an active Twitter user and hosted a podcast, Watch Your Tone, and on both, his primary focus was on politics. DeAngelo would often comment on former President Donald Trump and his administration's controversies, voicing his adamant support for Trump and his divisive policies. He would engage in heated back and forths with anyone who disagreed with him, often resulting in insults and mocking on DeAngelo's part.
Recently DeAngelo's Twitter was devoted to spreading false conspiracy theories that the 2020 Presidential Election was rigged in favor of now-President Joe Biden. He shared posts encouraging what would become the deadly insurrection attempt on the US Capitol on January 6 and others encouraging senators and congressmen to not accept the Electoral College results. This all came to a halt on January 9 though, when DeAngelo announced that as a result of Twitter permanently banning Trump's account, he would be leaving the platform in a show of solidarity and would instead be moving to the right wing-favoring, Parler.
As of this post, we still don't have the specifics of what caused the Rangers to finally cut DeAngelo loose, though word around NHL circles, and mentioned in The New York Post article about DeAngelo getting waived, last night was about an altercation he had with a teammate immediately following the team's overtime loss to the Pittsburgh Penguins. Could DeAngelo's anger and use of inappropriate language gotten the best of him yet again? We might find out sometime tomorrow, as indicated by Coach Quinn. The only things clear at this moment are that the New York Rangers have ended their time with Tony DeAngelo and that he has a history of behavior that might have forced their hand into that decision.