Just over a week ago, Wayne Simmonds—one of the few black players in the NHL—had a banana thrown at him during an exhibition game in London. Yesterday in Philadelphia, after a slight altercation during a preseason game against the Rangers at Wells Fargo Center, Simmonds allegedly called Sean Avery a "fucking faggot" (the video is fairly convincing that he said exactly that). Here's more from ESPN's report:
[Simmonds] said he did not remember everything that was said between him and Avery during the game but did not deny crossing the line.
Simmonds said he felt Avery sucker-punched him in a scrum early in the first and said the two continued to verbally spar after that.
"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."
Avery felt he said nothing to prompt such a response.
Avery, who you may remember is the NHL's most outspoken gay rights activist, and who, you may also remember, has also been accused by former teammates of using "racial taunts" such as calling opponents "black monkeys," confirmed that he'd heard the slur.
To recap, because this one sure can get confusing: One of the NHL's few active black players, who had recently been discriminated against himself when an anonymous Londoner threw a banana or a banana peel or maybe even multiple bananas at him in his place of work now stands accused of discriminating homosexual people by yelling a homophobic slur at Sean Avery, who is an activist for homosexuals' rights and who often wears thick glasses and nice suits and who has, as a result, been called a "faggot" plenty of times before this particular occasion, and who could also, possibly, be kind of a bigot himself, as he has allegedly called black people "black monkeys" before, which, of course, brings us back to the banana(s).
It is important to work out the weight of a word like "faggot"; it is also important that we work out the idea of bigotry, which is, essentially, intolerance of opinions that do not align with one's own opinions. With that in mind, we've developed this Venn diagram, which I think offers a truthful take on the state of bigotry in our nation and our world:
For his particular offense, Simmonds—who is denying that he ever said the word—could be fined $2,500.
Sean Avery called homophobic slur? [ESPN]
Video via @TwoLinePass.