Anti-Gay Slur Allegedly Hurled at Pro-LGBT Hockey Player

As any sports fan knows, it doesn’t take much to get atheletes riled up during a game. It’s not uncommon for rival players to exchange taunts or jeers. But on Monday, Philadephia Flyers’ Wayne Simmonds may have crossed a line by calling New York Rangers’ Sean Avery a “f*cking f*ggot.” The incident was caught on camera without audio, resulting in a dispute over the NHL player’s words.

In the video, Simmonds appears to yell the alleged epithet at Avery after the two players got into a physical altercation. Resorting to anti-gay slurs is ugly enough as it is, but if accurate, Simmonds’ insult carries extra weight because of Avery’s support of LGBT rights. Earlier this year, Avery came out as a straight ally and released a video for the Human Rights Campaign’s New Yorkers for Marriage Equality series.

“I treat everyone the way I expect to be treated, and that applies to marriage,” Avery said in his video. “Committed couples should be able to marry the person they love.”

Simmonds claims he doesn’t remember the heated words that followed his scuffle with Avery. “I don’t recall everything that I did say to him,” Simmonds told ESPN New York. “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.”

Yet later on Tuesday, Simmonds issued a statement specifically denying his use of homophobic language. An NHL official told the press that Simmonds will not receive any penalties over the incident. “Since there are 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,” the official said.

The Gay and Lesbian Alliance Against Defamation (GLAAD) has responded by calling on Simmonds to apologize. “Hate speech and anti-gay slurs have no place on the ice rink,” Mike Thompson, GLAAD acting president, 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,” Thompson added.

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Photo credit: BridgetDS (Creative Commons)


Norma V.
Norma Villarreal6 years ago

Ok guys, can't we all just get along? Both athletes have had their moments of bad boy behavior, and neither seems to be a classy role model for the human race. Go figure.

K s Goh
KS Goh6 years ago

Thanks for the article.

Diane L.
Diane L6 years ago

Marianne, what is surprising about a big mouth with a bad attitudein sports, ESPECIALLY pro hockey? Maybe you haven't heard the joke about going to a "fight and a hockey game broke out"? Seriously, I've yet to see one where it didn't except maybe in the Olympics and even then, there were scuffles and shoving. We've all seen the dug-outs emptied during major league baseball and unfair tackles in football and elbowing in the NBA, and who knows what's said when they're in clinches and have to be separated?

Yes, of course Simmons has to be held "accountable", but if they can't prove what he said or didn't say, then how will that be done?

Alicia N.
Alicia N6 years ago

shame of him!

Marianne C.
Marianne C6 years ago

Another bigoted blowhard with a bad attitude and a mean mouth. And gosh, he's in sports!

Ain't it grand that our youth have such wholesome role models?

Valarie Snell
Valarie Snell6 years ago


Marilyn L.
Marilyn L6 years ago

I am sick of brutal games like hockey and grown men getting pay millions of dollars to play them and other games. Simmonds showed what a jerk he is. I don't want his insincere apology, but I do want him suspended and fined.

Paul Burke Journey Home
Paul B6 years ago

(most likely literally and in a way more offensive manner and for a longer duration of time).

Paul Burke Journey Home
Paul B6 years ago

Avery capitalizing on the banana incident shouldn't surprise anyone. Last spring he was fined and made to publicly apologize after referring to another players girlfriend as - "sloppy seconds."

Getting an endorsement from Avery - is like PETA getting an endorsement from the butchers association or Defenders of Wildlife getting an endorsement from the NRA - catch my drift.

Whatever Sean says is not to be taken as genuine - especially when he's trying to get you to draw a penalty.

Ironically he's brought Wayne's new teammates closer together as the club is outraged that in this day and age Wayne is subject to such abject racisim not only by a few moronic fans but by one of the sports most notorius bad boys. Avery's brinkmanship and crocodile tears have backfired.

For the record the league under a new commissioner is handing out some of its harshest suspensions this year and its still only pre-season. For them to ignore Avery's shenanigans should tell you something - that the man has no credibility, is of questionable character, and a repeat offender.

Sean is probably aiming at the NHL more than Simmonds because he had to publicly apologize for his "sloppy seconds" remark. The unfortunate woman's offense was that she had briefly dated Sean - cool guy huh?

Like I said Sean's a class act. Don't be taken in - I know you are all well meaning and your overall point is right - about abusive language - but this is a case of the pot calling the kettle black (

Paul Burke Journey Home
Paul B6 years ago

Lets set the record straight - Sean Avery is what they call an antagonist in Ice Hockey - before the so called verbal spate - he was punching Simmonds in the face - while Simmonds was on his back - on the ice - defenseless - being held down by the referee - Sean Avery is not a classy guy.

Those familiar with the sport of Hockey know that Avery is a legendary cheap shot artist - fights guys smaller than him, skaters who don't fight, and stands behind the refs when someone like Simmonds decides he's had enough. You know the type in your own life from the playground- specializes in getting under peoples skin - Avery's made a career out of it on skates.

A few nights before Wayne Simmonds had a bannana thrown at him while skating in on a breakaway (he scored-so good for him)- Why would someone throw a banana at Simmonds - guess - that's right Wayne is black. If you don't think Sean Avery - who gets paid to be an agitator wasn't in Wayne's ear going to town over the banana incident - well you don't know Sean Avery. He succeeded in his mission to get Wayne to take a penalty.

Simmonds - acted with complete restraint during the banana incident and remarked that in a largely white sport he's had his run in with a lot of racisim - Did he loose his cool with the legendary Sean Avery - you bet and he's not the first one.

Avery capitalizing on the banana incident shouldn't surprise anyone. Last spring he was fined and made to publicly apologize after referring to anot