NHL: Evidence Of Simmonds Slur Against Rangers’ Avery Lacking

NEW YORK (WFAN/AP) — Flyers forward Wayne Simmonds won’t spend time in the NHL’s penalty box.

The league Tuesday night they don’t have conclusive evidence he directed a homophobic slur at Rangers agitator Sean Avery.

Colin Campbell, the league’s senior executive vice president of hockey operations and former disciplinarian, said because of “conflicting accounts of what transpired on the ice, we have been unable to substantiate with the necessary degree of certainty what was said and by whom.”

Video replay appeared to catch Simmonds making an anti-gay slur against Avery during a preseason game in Philadelphia on Monday night.

When Avery was asked by reporters after the game if Simmonds called him “what we think he called you,” he answered: “Yeah, yeah.”

Simmonds didn’t reveal if he did use the slur. However, Campbell said in his statement that Simmonds “expressly denied” making it.

Campbell added that none of the on-ice officials heard any slurs by either player, thus making the NHL unable to take disciplinary action now. He said the league reserves the option to “revisit the matter” should new information be found that conclusively shows a slur was made.

Last week, Simmonds – who is black – was involved in another controversy when someone threw a banana on the ice from the stands as he was taking a shootout attempt during a game in London, Ontario.

“All players, coaches and officials in the National Hockey League deserve the respect of their peers, and have the absolute right to function in a work environment that is free from racially or sexually-based innuendo or derision,” Campbell said in the statement. “This is the National Hockey League’s policy and it will remain so going forward.”

Earlier Tuesday, the Gay and Lesbian Alliance Against Defamation called for Simmonds to apologize for the slur and pressed the NHL to educate its fans about such remarks.

“Hate speech and anti-gay slurs have no place on the ice rink,” GLAAD acting president Mike Thompson said in a statement. “The word that Simmonds used is the same word that is hurled at LGBT youth on the playground and in our schools, creating a climate of intolerance and hostility.

“He should not only apologize for this anti-gay outburst, but the Philadelphia Flyers and the NHL have a responsibility to take action and educate their fans about why this word is unacceptable.”

GLAAD said it has talked to the Flyers and the NHL about what specific steps can be taken. The organization added that it has worked with sports leagues such as the NBA, Major League Baseball, and the WWE to address issues of homophobia in sports.

“It also is important to emphasize that the National Hockey League holds, and will continue to hold, our players to higher standards with respect to their conduct both on and off the ice,” Campbell said. “While we recognize that the emotion involved in certain on-ice confrontations may lead to the use of highly charged and sometimes offensive language and commentary, certain lines cannot be crossed.

“We have for many years emphasized to our clubs and players that commentary directed at the race or ethnicity of other participants in the game (or even non-participants), or that is otherwise socially or morally inappropriate or potentially hurtful – including as it may relate to sexual orientation – is absolutely unacceptable and will not be tolerated,” he added.

Did the NHL make the right move? Be heard in the comments below…

(TM and Copyright 2011 CBS Radio Inc. and its relevant subsidiaries. CBS RADIO and EYE Logo TM and Copyright 2011 CBS Broadcasting Inc. Used under license. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed. The Associated Press contributed to this report.)

  • mataba

    It seems gays rule the media and so we have all of these gay fusses everywhere.
    It ain’t nothing to worry about. It’s all a bunch of hissy fits! smokersodysseycom

  • pugphan

    Homophobe is a bogus word, nobody is afraid of gays. We just don’t like them putting their disgusting arse sex in our faces. This miniscule peeps of the pop sure
    gets a lot of ink. smokersodysseycom

  • DCLaw-1

    Really, this has me at such a loss. Can a GLAD member, or one sympathetic to its cause, please explain the authority or basis for this apology crusade. The Government cannot demand apologies for remarks that may be offensive to some; society cannot demand apologies for what may be found offensive to certain people; so why does GLAD feel it is in a position to make such demands. Especially when it essentially demanding glaring insincerity. Can somebody explain? please.

  • DCLaw-1

    Hockey player saying offensive things during the heat of the game!! Unbelievable!!!!! GLAD demanding an apology!!!! Where does GLAD get off demanding apologies from anyone? The arrogance and self-rightousness of this group of overly sensitive whiners is getting out of control. Can anybody, preferrably from GLAD, explain what end an insincere apology serves? A forced apology is a fake apology, so the only conclusion is that an apology fills a dire need to exert control over people by GLAD

  • EWM

    Glaad!!! Get over it….No body has to be careful about making gay remarks or slurs. Freedom of speach….You just want something to fuse over….I am sick and tired of it.

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