Did Flyers Player Use Anti-Gay Slur?
Did he just say what I think he said? That’s what everyone was asking after a game between the Philadelphia Flyers and the New York Rangers last night. Flyer Wayne Simmonds is accused of calling Ranger Sean Avery a “f—ing f—-t” during the preseason game in South Philly. While Simmonds says he doesn’t remember exactly what he said, Avery said in a post-game interview, “To be here now having to answer the questions about what he did is disappointing for me. I’m disappointed for him.” He also referenced the NBA when Kobe Bryant was fined $100,000 for using the same word.
Simmonds isn’t sure of what he said, though video captures him saying what appears to be these exact words.
“Honestly we were going back and forth for awhile there and I don’t recall every single thing that I did say to him,” Simmonds told reporters after the game.
Avery has taken a very public stance on same-sex marriage in New York, voicing his support for the new law when it was still being considered for legislation earlier this year in a video. And he took some heat for it.
The NHL hasn’t responded to the most recent situation. But Flyers scout Patrick Burke, who’s brother Brendan Burke was an openly gay manager of the Miami Redhawks before dying in a car accident, discussed homophobia in hockey in a column he wrote for Outsports.
“The hockey establishment must do a better job of establishing a safe haven for gay athletes,” he wrote. “We need to work on ending the use of homophobic slurs as an insult.”
LGBT groups are already calling foul on this latest episode.
“Hate speech and anti-gay slurs have no place on the ice rink,” says Mike Thompson, GLAAD’s acting president. “The word that Simmonds used is the same word that is hurled at LGBT youth on the playground and in our schools, creating a climate of intolerance and hostility. He should not only apologize for this anti-gay outburst, but the Philadelphia Flyers and the NHL have a responsibility to take action and educate their fans about why this word is unacceptable.”
Last year, some lesbian fans complained about the flagrant use of gay slurs at a Hershey Bears hockey game, prompting the arena management to establish a code of conduct for both players and fans that forbids offensive language.
Here’s what Simmonds had to say after the game: