The following video (via our own Ryan Lambert) appears to show Wayne Simmonds of the Philadelphia Flyers using a homophobic slur and directing it at Sean Avery of the New York Rangers, who was in full pest mode during the teams' Monday night NHL preseason game.
You know, if they're still looking for the right commercial for the 2012 Winter Classic …
"Honestly, we were going back and forth for a while there," Simmonds said. "I don't recall everything that I did say to him but he said to me some things I didn't like and maybe I said some things that he didn't like. I can't recall every single word I said."
Here's a transcript featuring Avery and Simmonds in the postgame.
Forget for a moment that Sean Avery has been accused of his own unique brand of insensitivity on the ice, and that Avery also has a talent for bringing out the worst in others. (Simmonds claimed Avery called him something he "wasn't happy with," and left it at that.) Forget for a moment that what's said inside the rink about sexuality and family relations would make vintage Andrew Dice Clay blush.
The bottom line: When Kobe Bryant called an NBA referee a homophobic epithet, it cost him $100,000. When Joakim Noah used the same slur against a fan, it cost him $50,000.
That's the reality for pro sports in 2011, and if Simmonds crossed that line the NHL needs to respond in kind. Especially when Avery has been at the forefront of the gay rights movement, meaning that influential sites like Outsports aren't going to let this incident go without protest.
(P.S.: If you're someone who believes this incident somehow cancels out or downgrades what happened to Simmonds in London, Ontario, last Thursday, then you're probably also someone who believes the banana was thrown on the ice for him to accidentally slip on. Yes, what Simmonds did here deserves condemnation. No, there isn't a logical basis for arguing one act of insensitivity exonerates the other. Simmonds didn't make a stink about the racial incident. He didn't claim the moral high ground. Get off of yours.)
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