Canada’s largest LGBT organization, Egale, today joined GLAAD in calling on the National Hockey League (NHL) to take responsibility for the anti-gay actions of Philadelphia Flyers player Wayne Simmonds. In a pre-season game on Monday, Simmonds was caught by cameras shouting an anti-gay slur at a fellow player; Simmonds denies the allegations, however.
In a statement released today, Egale said:
There can be no question that Philadelphia Flyers’ Wayne Simmonds hurled a hateful, anti-gay slur during a pre-season game on Monday night, and the NHL must take responsibility and stand with other major league sports in their active and explicit opposition to discrimination based on sexual orientation.
Incidents of anti-gay hate echo across all of society, causing lasting harm in the local rink, the classroom, and at home. “It’s time for one of Canada’s favourite pastimes to get with the times and directly address the issue of anti-gay discrimination on and off the ice,” said Helen Kennedy, Executive Director of Egale Canada. “There are many LGBT youth and athletes who remain hesitant to live openly, fearful of rejection by their coaches and peers. The NHL has shamefully let them down.”
Egale urges the NHL to reconsider its response and clearly demonstrate that homophobic language is never acceptable and will not be tolerated.
TAKE ACTION NOW: Tell the NHL to look again at the video of Simmonds, which clearly shows him using an anti-gay slur. Tell the league to prove to ALL of its fans that they are welcome at games. Demand that the NHL stand by its statement that discriminatory slurs "will not be tolerated" - the way other leagues have.