Wayne Simmonds of the Philadelphia Flyers was the victim of a disgusting act of bigotry last Thursday night in London, Ont. He handled that situation with class and dignity, and the entire hockey community rallied behind him in its aftermath.
But on Monday night, as the Flyers hosted the New York Rangers, Simmonds mixed it up with noted fashion enthusiast Sean Avery, and it appears as though Simmonds described him in a less than desirable light.
For the video impaired, Simmonds clearly mouthed a slur against homosexuals. It starts with an F. You can deduce from there what he said.
A lot of people will react to this by saying "hey, what's said on the ice is what's said on the ice" or "you can't judge a guy from what he says in the heat of the moment." And really, this probably happens every single night in the NHL, and it just so happened that this instance was caught on camera.
But this is the kind of thing that, ironically, people like Sean Avery have been active in trying to eliminate from the sport of hockey. There's long been a culture of homophobia in hockey, and you'd hope that a black person in a predominately white sport would understand that intolerance more than perhaps anybody else.
Then again, maybe that just goes to show just how much the homophobia permeates throughout the game.