Banana. Gay Slur. These are the words commonly seen in recent headlines about Wayne Simmonds, a professional hockey player for the Philadelphia Flyers. He’s been in the news a lot lately, but not because of his hockey skills.
Just a week ago the Twitterverse and Blogopshere were buzzing with outrage when a banana was thrown on the ice at Simmonds, who is black, during a shootout. It was a hateful, racist thing to do and rightly condemned by the NHL and journalists.
But yesterday, the same man subjected to a fan’s racist display turned around and shouted a hateful gay slur at New York Rangers team member Sean Avery. It was seen around the world, but not heard. The evidence is a video without sound of Simmonds shouting something at Avery, and Avery later confirming that, indeed, Simmonds did shout what it looked like he shouted.
At first Simmonds claimed he couldn’t remember everything he said. Today, Simmonds now claims that he’s positively sure he did not shout a gay slur, and the NHL appear to have dropped the matter.
Is it possible Simmonds called Avery a “clucking magnet?” Or perhaps a “fluffy maggot?” No. I’ve had this particular gay slur shouted at me enough times to know what it looks like coming out of someone’s mouth even without the sound. Simmonds called Avery a “fucking faggot.”