Philadelphia Flyers forward Wayne Simmonds finds himself in the middle of yet another controversy that has spurred the NHL brass to action.
Simmonds was accused Monday night of making a gay slur against New York Rangers’ Sean Avery during a preseason game. The incident came just days after a fan threw a banana peel onto the ice in the direction of Simmonds, who is Black.
In the latest incident, however, Simmonds escaped punishment by the NHL on Tuesday night because the league couldn’t come up with conclusive evidence that he directed the homophobic slur at Avery.
NHL Senior Vice President of Hockey Operations Colin Campbell said that, due to conflicting accounts on what exactly transpired, the league couldn’t substantiate with a high degree of certainty what was said or not said.
“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.”
But that likely will not sit well with gay and lesbian groups that have already leaped into the fray. Some groups are already demanding Simmonds apologize for the slur and that the NHL do more to prevent such instances from happening in the future.
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