BY: ALEX ALSTON
Wayne Simmonds was the victim of a racially charged display one week before when a fan chunked a banana in front of him during a Philadelphia Flyers exhibition game in London, Ontario. On September 24th, however, he found no problem with calling Sean Avery, an outspoken advocate for the LGBTQ community, and forward of the New York Rangers, a “f*cking f*gg*t.” According to Simmonds, his actions were the result of a sucker punch Avery hit him with earlier in the game. Whatever his reasons, Simmonds was wrong. In this day and age of the camera constantly being in every athlete’s mouth, to even “slip up” and say something like this a perpetuation and a promotion of the homophobia that runs rampant in our culture and so blatantly and consistently ends in the deaths of young people across the country. The NHL would do well to react swiftly and decisively because a lack of a response in this case should be understood as nothing less than an endorsement of this type of behavior. We all remember Kobe’s $100,000 fine, so my eyes are fixed on the NHL. What kind of league do they want to be? One that fosters hate speech and homophobia or one that promotes tolerance and equality? Of course they can’t control what every individual player says, but they can set standards that make it clear that bigotry will not be tolerated. Unfortunately, it does not appear as if they plan to enact any repercussions on Simmonds, without any prodding at least. I encourage you all to prod, and to join the 50,000+ other people who have signed the petition to fine Wayne Simmonds for his homophobic slur against Sean Avery. You can read and sign it here.