As you probably already know, at least one fan threw a banana at black Philadelphia Flyers forward Wayne Simmonds during a neutral-site preseason game in London, Ontario last night. It was a truly revolting moment of racism, but sadly far from the only incident in recent hockey history.
The hope is that such an awful scene doesn’t paint broad brushstrokes about the hockey community in general. NHL commissioner Gary Bettman said it well when he called it a “stupid and ignorant action” that shouldn’t represent fans in London, Ontario as a whole.
Thankfully, that ugly situation prompted a lot of support for Simmonds among hockey teammates and opponents as well as fans and writers. First, let’s take a look at what a few of his colleagues had to say via Twitter, with help from this NHL.com article. (Note: some shorthand has been corrected.)
The incident that happened in london tonight involving my best friend Wayne Simmonds was simply disgusting, it’s 2011 people need to grow up.
Wayne Simmonds is a good friend of mine. To hear what happened tonight to him in my hometown is awful. No need for this in sports, or life.
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 and ironically this takes place. 🙁 There’s NO place for this in sports since sport connects us not divides us.
As far as hockey writers and fans go, CSNPhilly.com gathered some of the reactions in this article. Here’s a quick excerpt.
By hockey writer Dennis Bernstein (@DennisTFP)
Covered Wayne Simmonds for entire 3 years with Kings. His response to an ignorant act displays the same class I’ve seen since day one.
By Rob Kennedy (@robk35)
Heard what happened to Wayne Simmonds. people quit giving hockey a bad name by ruthless and classless acts, hockey is a gentleman’s game.
By Heather (@owlssinitaly)
Whoever threw that banana at Wayne Simmonds needs to get slapped.
I have to agree with Heather on that one.