By Lucas Grindley
Originally published on Advocate.com September 28 2011 12:57 PM ET
The National Hockey League says it won't be disciplining Wayne Simmonds for allegedly using a gay slur during a war of words with another player on the ice. But the Gay and Lesbian Alliance Against Defamation isn't buying the NHL's reasoning.
The NHL claims "there are conflicting accounts of what transpired on the ice" and that it can't be sure the Philadelphia Flyers' Simmonds called New York Ranger Sean Avery a "fucking faggot." The insult was caught on video, but there was no sound.
Still, GLAAD thinks it's obvious what was said.
"It is abundantly clear from video footage that an instance of antigay bias occurred,” said Mike Thompson, acting president of GLAAD, in a statement today. “League officials should revisit this matter and take action immediately."
Thompson noted that Major League Baseball and NBA players had been disciplined for using gay slurs. In the most high-profile case, Los Angeles Lakers star Kobe Bryant was fined $100,000 after hurling a gay slur at a referee.
"The NHL is severely out of touch at a time when leagues including the MLB and the NBA are taking stands against antigay bullying and steps to ensure their sports are welcoming to all players, coaches and fans," Thompson said.
In an interview after the preseason game during which it happened, Avery said he heard Simmonds use the slur. But Simmonds said he couldn't remember everything he yelled. Later he revised that reaction to say he explicitly did not use the gay slur.
The NHL insists that "certain lines cannot be crossed" and if it had evidence of the slur being used, then disciplinary action would follow.
"To the extent we become aware of additional information conclusively establishing that an inappropriate slur was invoked, we are reserving the option to revisit the matter,” NHL officials said, inviting other evidence to be presented.
Any lip readers out there? What do you think? Watch the video below and then let us know in the comments.