I don’t know how many of you heard about this but last night in London, Ontario, a disgusting act happened during a preseason game between the Detroit Red Wings and the Philadelphia Flyers. Flyers’ forward Wayne Simmonds, who is African American, was taking a penalty shot when on his way towards the goalie, a fan threw a banana on the ice. We all get the reference and it is completely disgusting. A racist act like that at this point in time is disgusting.
A youtube video has been uploaded with video from probably a phone of the penalty shot. Wayne Simmonds had this to say in the post game press conference:
“I don’t know if it had anything to do with the fact I’m black. I certainly hope not. When you’re black, you kind of expect (racist) things. You learn to deal with it.”
Today he released this statement through the Flyers’ public relations department:
“It was unfortunate that this incident happened but I am above this sort of stuff. This is something that is obviously out of my control. Moving forward, this incident is something that I will no longer comment on so I can just focus playing hockey for the Philadelphia Flyers.”
There has been a huge burst of support for Wayne Simmonds from the hockey community. Former NHL goalie and now NHL Network analyst Kevin Weekes had this to say through his fantasy, @KevinWeekes:
“For those that asked: I’m extremely disappointed with what happened to Wayne Simmonds tonight in London Ont. We’ve taken HUGE steps to grow the game of hockey, as I speak Willie O’Ree and I are in D.C. attending the Black Congressional Caucus on behalf of the NHL & ironically this takes place.”
NHL Commissioner Gary Bettman, who I personally would follow Animal House‘s way of behaving in a press conference, released a statement today saying:
“We have millions of great fans who show tremendous respect for our players and for the game. The obviously stupid and ignorant action by one individual is in no way representative of our fans or the people of London, Ontario.”
NHL players like Logan Couture of San Jose and Chris Stewart of St. Louis along with many others have all displayed there frustration of such a stupid, racist act. I personally think this is an ugly stain on the game of hockey that there is still racism among hockey fans in these present times. We as a people have enough to deal with, we don’t need these racist acts to help stir the pot. If I had seen who had thrown the banana, I personally would give him a piece of my mind, or fist, or foot, whatever it takes.