Tag: bananas

Wayne Simmonds

Banana-tosser slips away with light fine, deemed not a hate crime


You may not remember the name Chris Moorhouse, but he’s the hockey fan who threw a banana at Philadelphia’s Wayne Simmonds during the shootout of a preseason game in London, Ontario.

Moorhouse was booked for his actions and while his defense was that he didn’t know it was a racist gesture, the courts in Ontario are letting him off lightly. Moorhouse was fined $200 for tossing the banana at Simmonds while he skated in on his shootout attempt against the Red Wings in September.

As The Globe And Mail notes, there wasn’t sufficient evidence to charge Moorhouse with a hate crime despite the fact that it was very clearly a racial gesture. If Moorhouse was ignorant to that whole thing, it must be a wonderful world to live in where you just don’t know what anything means.

Ontario police press charges on man suspected of throwing banana at Wayne Simmonds

New York Rangers v Philadelphia Flyers

One day after news circulated that police found a suspect in the awful case of a fan throwing a banana peel at black Philadelphia Flyers winger Wayne Simmonds, various reports indicate that they’ve pressed charges. Simmonds shook off that distraction while he completed a successful shootout attempt during a neutral-site preseason game against the Detroit Red Wings on Sept. 22.

London, Ontario native Chris Moorhouse has been charged with “engaging in a prohibited activity on a premise under the provincial Trespass to Property Act” for his alleged involvement in that ugly situation. CTV reports that a conviction carries a maximum fine of $2,000.

Moorhouse, who is 26 years old, reportedly expressed remorse for what London police Const. Dennis Rivest believes wasn’t “anything more than a lapse in judgment.” The National Post reports that details about his first court date haven’t been revealed yet.

NHL won’t punish Wayne Simmonds for alleged homophobic comment

New York Rangers v Philadelphia Flyers

No doubt about it, Philadelphia Flyers forward Wayne Simmonds is experiencing a crazy week – even if he downplayed each well-publicized incident. One thing that won’t make things a little bit nuttier is a suspension or fine, though. The Canadian Press reports that Simmonds won’t face discipline for allegedly uttering a homophobic remark toward New York Rangers pest Sean Avery.

Shortly after the game, Simmonds told reporters that he didn’t remember what he said – only that “language was exchanged.” On the other hand, Avery confirmed the rumors, which were originally based on a video that convinced many lip-reading hockey fans that Simmonds was guilty of such trash talk. Earlier today, Simmonds denied that he made the remark.

It might seem ridiculous to some that such an incident generated suspension debate, but there are examples of the league handing out harsh verdicts for things players say (or gestures they make) rather than hits they deliver. As Joe pointed out earlier today, the NBA also made headlines when they fined Kobe Bryant a whopping $100,000 grand when a microphone caught the Los Angeles Lakers star making a homophobic slur.

The NHL probably made the right move

As revolting as trash talk can be – whether the insults revolve around race, sexual preference or other touchy social issues – it’s hard to blame the NHL for not taking action. Even if you believe in the power of lip reading, the league might have trouble suspending Simmonds based on limited evidence. Generally speaking, I think it’s probably unreasonable for a league to police the unsettling words that players use against each other when tempers flare.

Simmonds won’t get punished in a formal way, but it’s possible that he’ll lose face in the court of public opinion. If nothing else, this should be a lesson to any player talking smack: remember that microphones and cameras are all over the place. (And they’re only going to become more prevalent as technology improves.)

Safer alternatives for belittling opponents

With that in mind, players should stick to friendlier forms of mockery, such as:

  • Someone’s questionable hair style.
  • A person’s inability to grow a beard/let go of a not-even-ironic mustache.
  • Perhaps mocking that person’s former junior or college hockey program would be a more family-friendly way to go?
  • If you want to get really specific, you can even critique a player’s fashion sense. (Avery would approve.)

Sure, making fun of a player for going bald, having a mullet or wearing socks with sandals isn’t going to enrage them to the point of taking a bad penalty in most cases, but it’s better than losing face and encouraging activist groups to speak out against you.* (Although Bobby Hull might disagree with that general point.)

From my perspective, it’s a relief that this didn’t result in a formal penalty, even if it’s a very disappointing situation. What do you think about the lack of punishment? Should he sit out a game or more? Would the league be justified in at least giving him the CBA maximum fine of $2,500 for the incident? Let us know in the comments.

* – On the bright side, PETA wasn’t involved.

Report: Ontario police might know who threw a banana at Wayne Simmonds

Wayne Simmonds

In a well-written diatribe, The Boston Globe’s Kevin Paul Dupont chastised London, Ontario fans for supposedly failing to blow the whistle on whoever threw a banana at Wayne Simmonds.  He ended his mini-rant with some pointed words: “Speaking up won’t guarantee that it will stop. Remaining silent, though, guarantees that it will continue.”

As it turns out, someone spoke up after all – in fact, today’s news is that multiple witnesses provided the same name to authorities. QMI Agency reports that local police attained the name of the person who probably threw the banana peel at Simmonds as he scored a shootout goal against the Detroit Red Wings on Sept. 22. Officials admit that charges haven’t been made just yet, although investigations are ongoing.

Police didn’t provide a description of the suspect, which might disappoint Kevin Weekes. Weekes – a former NHL goalie who dealt with a similar incident during a 2002 playoff series in Montreal – said that the likeness of the guilty party* should be “plastered everywhere” to discourage similar behavior via well-deserved humiliation.

It’s probably not within peoples’ rights to do that to the banana-thrower, but that doesn’t mean he or she won’t suffer consequences for those ugly actions. This report reveals two reprimands that could come from this incident.

The banana-tosser could be subject to a charge of “engaging in a prohibited activity” under the Trespass to Property Act.

John Labatt Centre officials said people throwing things on the ice are generally ejected, but in this instance, a person could be banned from the facility for a year or longer.

Honestly, it wouldn’t be excessive to ban that person from attending hockey games, period.

* Or maybe guilty parties, considering the rumors that more than one banana was thrown, with an earlier attempt missing the ice.

Ontario fan throws banana at Wayne Simmonds in shameful racist display

Wayne Simmonds

In what the NHL calls a “stupid and ignorant” display of racism, at least one fan threw a banana at black Philadelphia Flyers winger Wayne Simmonds during a shootout attempt tonight. Simmonds still managed to score on his attempt, although the Flyers ended up losing that preseason game to the Detroit Red Wings in front of a neutral-site crowd in London, Ontario.

It’s possible that this wasn’t the only time a fan attempted to throw a banana at Simmonds during the game, either. Brian Floyd passes along a fan’s note that someone tried to hit Simmonds with one late in the third period when he scored a 3-3 goal to send the contest to overtime, but that attempt fell short.

Sam Carchidi caught up with Simmonds following the game, who confirmed that it happened but said he didn’t want to make a big deal about it. Here’s a little more from Simmonds on what must have been a strange moment.

“I don’t know if it had anything to do with the fact I’m black,” the Toronto native said. “I certainly hope not. When you’re black, you kind of expect (racist) things. You learn to deal with it.”

Simmonds acknowledged the banana rattled him, and his only thought was to get off a shot — which went in for the Flyers’ only score in the shootout.

“It shocked me and knew I had to keep going and get a shot off,” he said. “It was certainly unusual.”

Simmonds deserves credit for shaking it off in such a professional way, but the fan (or fans) should be ashamed for that revolting act. To add an extra level of sadness to an already awful situation, Simmonds is a Scarborough, Ontario native.

Unfortunately, this isn’t the first time hockey fans have thrown bananas at a black hockey player. Former Carolina Hurricanes goalie Kevin Weekes dealt with the racial epithet during a 2002 series against the Montreal Canadiens.

As far as exchanges between opponents, it’s impossible to know how many slurs fly around during trash talking sessions, although there was at least once incident in which the matter became public. Georges Laraque accused Sean Avery of calling him a “monkey” in 2005, a claim that Avery denied.

Naturally, hockey isn’t the only sport in which fans interact with black players in such a way. (Soccer fans have a reputation of doing so, for example.) That doesn’t make it any less disturbing, especially since it’s far from uncommon to see black players in prominent roles now. Groundbreaking players such as Willie O’Ree and Grant Fuhr have made way for an impressive wave of stars, from Jarome Iginla to Evander Kane and Dustin Byfuglien.

Obviously, such a ghastly display of racism is discouraging – it’s 2011, after all – but hopefully this will just be an ugly, isolated incident.

Update (10:15 am ET):  NHL commissioner Gary Bettman released the following statement regarding the incident.

“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,