Philadelphia’s Wayne Simmonds made headlines last week following an incident of racism that we wish never took place. Simmonds had a banana peel thrown at him during a shootout attempt versus the Detroit Red Wings at an exhibition game in London, Ontario. Although it was despicable act by one idiot fan, Simmonds was rightfully lauded for the manner in which he handled questioning from the media after the incident. Unfortunately, Simmonds was accused of committing his own act of intolerance during a Monday night exhibition match against the New York Rangers.
Simmonds and Sean Avery exchanged words following an ugly hit from behind by Tom Sestito during the first period. Simmonds appeared to yell something in Avery’s direction that may or may not have been “faggot”. Avery, who is well known for his endorsement of gay marriage, would state after the game that Simmonds did indeed direct a homophobic slur at him. Katie Strang of ESPN New York reported the Avery confirmation, but also reported that Simmonds couldn’t recall exactly what he had said to Avery.
Here’s a look at the incident:
Although the above clip leaves some room for doubt, Simmonds sudden case of amnesia and body language during his post-game chat with the media aren’t exactly helping clear him of any wrong doing.
Simmonds was unwilling to own up to the accusations, but then again he didn’t exactly deny it either. It’s disappointing and another painful reminder of the hateful side of hockey culture.
Now we will wait and see if the NHL gets involved and whether or not Simmonds could face some discipline if Avery’s accusations are found to be true. The NBA fined Kobe Bryant $100,000 last season for directing a gay slur at a referee, and lest we forget James Wisniewski’s two-game suspension for his obscene gesture towards Avery last October.
The Flyers would take the game by a 5-3 final, and Sestito is likely to earn himself a suspension for his nasty hit on Andre Deveaux.