I'm a hockey fan. A big one. I could go on and on about why I think my Buffalo Sabres could make a run this year, but I'll skip that for now.
When I was a kid, several Sabres were my favorite people on planet Earth. Cooler than the Power Rangers. Dominik Hasek. Michael Peca. Rob Ray. I followed their every move and watched every game I could. I can honestly say I looked up to them.
Earlier this week, Philadelphia Flyers player Wayne Simmonds called New York Rangers forward and marriage equality advocate Sean Avery a "f-cking faggot."
Now, when Lakers player Kobe Bryant did this a few months ago, the NBA swiftly verbally disciplined him and handed him a $100,000 fine. Kobe apologized. A model of a mistake and a correction.
This case? The NHL comes up with a lame excuse about how it wasn't verified by the refs and Simmonds glosses over what he did. Thing is, video can be found below:
Unless he was using a different language, it's clear evidence of what he said.
Not acceptable, NHL.
You can also tweet:
RT @couragecampaign Fight homophobia in sports! Tell @NHL to discipline Wayne Simmonds. Sign here: bit.ly/pOD4AP
This stuff matters. Why? Google Wayne Simmonds and you'll see this is on ESPN, USA Today, Huffington Post. There are kids watching who don't think calling someone "faggot" matters. There are parents watching who think it's no big deal for their kids to use that kind of language. Culture and sports set a tone. ESPN's Johnette Howard gets it right in this piece looking at the history here. The NBA set the bar. The NHL isn't living up to it. For all the impact of "It Gets Better" videos, it would be nice to start with the source of the bullying and get it right from the start, wouldn't it?
Cross-posted at Courage Campaign Institute's Prop8TrialTracker.com