Make the NHL Do the Right Thing

Who cares about hockey. A bunch of guys sliding around on ice whacking each other with sticks and trying to pretend like they are not fighting when the whole point is fighting. Trogs on ice. But I digress.

Philadelphia Flyers Wayne Simmonds called Sean Avery of the New York Rangers a “fucking faggot” apparently because he, Avery, supported same sex marriage. The NHL officials claim that they can’t be sure what transpired on the ice, so nothing was done about it. But, just as NYPD cops can’t arbitrarily pepper spray women standing there in a Protestor-Enclosure without somebody catching the barbaric act on film, hockey players can’t be all homophobic at each other without it being documented. Did Simmonds really say that to Avery? You be the judge:

OK, he might have said “I wanna bagette” but I’m not sure.

Anyway, everyone is pretty sure he really did say that and that the NHL officials have not acted appropriately because they’re all a bunch of …. hockypucks!

But there is a petition. Click here to sign.

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15 Responses to Make the NHL Do the Right Thing

  1. Drivebyposter says:

    I love when a member of one minority group (i.e. hockey players) oppresses another(“faggots”). It confirms my bias that people suck.

  2. Ibis3, féministe avec un titre française de fantaisie says:

    Quit slanging hockey, Greg. It’s not just a sport, it’s a holy sacred national institution.

    Signed. Oh, and I was going to blog about this too. Hopefully, they’ll reverse course on this one. It’s not like the League to condone homophobia (at least in officialdom). They allowed their logos etc. to be used in the film Breakfast with Scot about a gay couple (one of the partners an ex-NHLer) adopting the nephew of one of them, for example.

  3. P Smith says:

    Considering that two weeks ago an idiot threw a banana on the ice at Simmonds during a pre-season game, you’d think he know better. Then again, a number of years ago Sandy McCarthy spewed a racial epithet at someone, and McCarthy is both of black and First Nations (native Canadian) ancestry. Just because you’re part of a minority that faces bigotry doesn’t mean you’re not capable of being one.

    Bigotry in the NHL has a long history, from “frog” to “chicken Swede” to “commie” as various groups entered the NHL. In time, all fell from use as will anti-black slurs because players from that minority become NHL regulars. Anti-gay slurs will likely go away only when there are several gay players, sad to say.

    “I wish they’d go back to calling each other f***ing ***holes.”
    - Glen Sather, on the rise of racist epithets in the NHL

    GL – If you don’t like hockey, I’d be surprised if you like basketboring. It’s nothing but a ripoff of hockey which Naismith (a Canadian) invented for the YMCA as an indoor winter sport. Hockey is a man’s sport, football is for wimps – you don’t get to go down to end the play, you can’t run out of bounds, and they play on ice over concrete with wooden walls reinforced with iron, not grass. They also play every second of the 60 minutes, not 12 out of 60 like football.

    .

  4. Zack says:

    What a fucking joke, there is a difference between homophobia and what happened on the ice during a hockey game. Let’s focus on the real hate instead of making the whole movement look like a bunch of PC stuck up pricks. So silly.

  5. mikekozlowskyj says:

    After watching that video, he prob. did say it but I think when the other leagues fined their players they actually had the words on tape, so I wouldn’t fine someone based on reading their lips. How could you possibly come to the conclusion that it was all because Avery supported Gay Marriage? Seems like quite a leap to me. Won’t be signing any petition based on no evidence- and exactly what is a silly petition going to solve?

  6. Ibis3, féministe avec un titre française de fantaisie says:

    Anti-gay slurs will likely go away only when there are several gay players, sad to say.

    Not good enough.If they can ramp up enforcement of obstruction penalties or hits to the head, then they can certainly have a no-tolerance policy for racial epithets and homophobic & sexist slurs. I’m sure that the players can get quite creative coming up with all the other insulting epithets they possibly can. Just look at the Pharyngula commentariat for a glimpse of what’s possible.

    What a fucking joke, there is a difference between homophobia and what happened on the ice during a hockey game. Let’s focus on the real hate instead of making the whole movement look like a bunch of PC stuck up pricks. So silly.

    It’s great that any time a group of people get together to oppose dehumanization of a minority by a majority, there’s always some privileged yahoo around to whinge about it and call it “political correctness”.

    This pervasive homophobia in sports culture is real hate. There are kids (& adults too) out there playing sports who are afraid of coming out for fear of being beaten up or harassed incessantly, and others who have dropped out of playing because the culture on the field or on the ice and in the dressing/locker room is so toxic.

    These men are the professionals and they should set the standard. There’s a code of honour they’re always touting & this should be part of it.

    After watching that video, he prob. did say it but I think when the other leagues fined their players they actually had the words on tape, so I wouldn’t fine someone based on reading their lips.

    After watching that video it’s clear that he *did* say it. Only someone looking to make an excuse for it would pretend that he didn’t. We don’t need audio. Especially when there was a *referee* standing right there (he’s just out of the frame & gets Simmonds to sit down just after this clip ends).

  7. jamessweet says:

    What a fucking joke, there is a difference between homophobia and what happened on the ice during a hockey game. Let’s focus on the real hate instead of making the whole movement look like a bunch of PC stuck up pricks. So silly.

    Zack, I absolutely agree with you that this is not necessarily indicative of homophobia on the part of Simmonds. Greg is asserting way more than is supportable when he said that the slur was used because of Avery’s support of same-sex marriage — that may be the case, but we just can’t make that assertion. If one grows up in a situation where “faggot” is an insult (and that would be pretty much anywhere in the US for many many decades) it can be difficult to expunge that from one’s vocabulary.

    However, I think the league still needs to take action anyway. It’s about setting a tone. I don’t think we have to necessarily condemn Simmonds in order to think a punishment is in order here. It is important for the league to say, “This is not okay,” even if Simmonds did not intend to be homophobic. The same way you get a traffic ticket for speeding even if you didn’t realize you were going so fast: It’s important that a message is communicated that that sort of behavior is not approved of.

    My thinking on this has been evolving somewhat — my position was closer to yours quite recently.

    The point is that one does not have to condemn Simmonds in order to think the league ought to sanction him. Simmonds may not have meant anything hateful, but intentionally or not he broke a rule that the league needs to be serious about enforcing. It’s about setting the appropriate tone.

  8. Crommunist says:

    Greg, it appears you wish to start a fight with your Canadian readership. LET IT COME TO PASS!

    I can tell you that this kind of stuff isn’t a new phenomenon – it’s just newly unacceptable. I think the league is headed in the right direction with this stuff, when fans are outraged that players would conduct themselves thusly. A commenter above mentioned the banana-tossing incident from Simmonds’ previous game, which drew nearly-universal condemnation from fans, players, and the league.

    I doubt the outburst had ANYTHING to do with same-sex marriage, or Avery’s support for it. It probably had more to do with the fact that Simmonds’ vocabulary is limited, and Avery is quite an unpleasant person.

  9. Lori says:

    Don’t bash hockey, the point of the game is *not* fighting. And it’s a helluva lot more exciting than football or basketball. Those guys are incredible athletes and deserve more respect than that.

    While (as a group) they are know for *ahem* brash behavior on the ice, I seriously this is anything more than the high emotion of the game and Simmonds not being very creative.

    I think insults that are a slur on a minority group are on the way out and the NHL needs to do their part in making sure it happens. I hope they do in this case.

  10. Ibis3, féministe avec un titre française de fantaisie says:

    Greg is asserting way more than is supportable when he said that the slur was used because of Avery’s support of same-sex marriage — that may be the case, but we just can’t make that assertion. If one grows up in a situation where “faggot” is an insult (and that would be pretty much anywhere in the US for many many decades) it can be difficult to expunge that from one’s vocabulary.

    Just for the record, I agree that the slur likely had nothing to do with Avery’s support for same-sex marriage. Remember, in Canada, we’ve had s-s marriage nation-wide since 2005 and in Ontario since 2003 (in other words it’s been the status quo since Simmonds was a teenager in Scarborough). It’s hard to imagine that Simmonds himself has an issue with Avery’s support of s-s marriage legislation in NY state.

    However, what I do think is that at the very least, “faggot” is the go to second-worst equal opportunity insult (the worst being “cunt”) to aim at someone when tempers flare. It’s also possible that Avery has attracted more than the usual homophobic crap because he’s known to have an interest in fashion and now he’s done the pro-gay ad. He’s such a nasty person that other players probably jump on any chance to return it back to him using any vitriolic method they can. They probably all call him a faggot when they talk about him among themselves. All of this doesn’t mitigate the NHL’s responsibility to clamp down and show the boys who are watching that calling anyone a faggot is unacceptable even on the ice in the heat of the moment.

  11. Greg Laden says:

    Funny. I mention that I think Hockey is stupid because it has this violent streak and all these people show up to slam me against the side of the rink to make sure that I understand that it is not!

    I don’t care! You can’t check me!!!!

    Anyway, it hardly matters if one dickhead hockey player calling another dickhead hockey player a “fucking faggot” is not really a reference to same sex marriage. I is still not acceptable.

    It would seem that hockey is the last of the sports to come out of the Middle Ages. Or is there some other sport that is worse in terms of race and gender slurring?

    Water Polo maybe.

  12. P Smith says:

    GL: “It would seem that hockey is the last of the sports to come out of the Middle Ages.”

    I beg to differ. I somehow doubt you’ve heard of or read Sports Illustrated’s survey of 2006, asking if players would accept a gay teammate.

    http://sportsillustrated.cnn.com/2006/players/02/28/poll.0228/

    http://www.outsports.com/news/20060302gayteammatesurvey.htm

    It wouldn’t surprise me if Simmonds’ outburst was due to his background, not because it’s hockey. Whites tend to be much more gay-friendly than blacks.

    .

  13. Greg Laden says:

    At least half the brown people I hang out with are gay or queer or something. And wait, two of them are hockey players, but they are also girls.

    The world is all topsey turvey. Or at least mine is.

    I’ll have a look at that survey, thanks for the links!

  14. I mention that I think Hockey is stupid because it has this violent streak and all these people show up to slam me against the side of the rink to make sure that I understand that it is not!

    No one ever said that hockey wasn’t violent. Of course it’s violent (at least the male professional version): there’s hitting and fighting in it. That doesn’t mean that the *point* of hockey is fighting. That’s like saying the point of football is running around on the grass. You know what “sports” have fighting as their point? Boxing and MMA. See if you can tell the difference.

    Anyway, it hardly matters if one dickhead hockey player calling another dickhead hockey player a “fucking faggot” is not really a reference to same sex marriage. I is still not acceptable.

    Is it okay if neither player is a dickhead? Or are all NHL players dickheads?

    It would seem that hockey is the last of the sports to come out of the Middle Ages. Or is there some other sport that is worse in terms of race and gender slurring?

    You really don’t have any idea what you’re talking about. You know what happens when racism and heterosexism and sexism become intolerable to a culture? People start calling it out. That might make it appear on the surface that the problem is worse there than elsewhere, but in fact it’s the opposite.

    Yes, please look at that survey. And consider that was conducted nearly six years ago–what do you think the numbers would be today with all of the kids who grew up playing in Canadian junior leagues (where same-sex marriage has been the law since 2005) or in northern Europe (where civil partnerships were the norm since the mid-nineties)? On the other hand, a minority of NFL and NBA rookies in that survey answered “yes”.

    Now read about Brendan Burke, the late son of Toronto Maple Leafs GM, Brian Burke:

    In November 2009, Burke came out to one of his teammates, Pat Cannone, after he was asked about his love life.[12] He then came out to the rest of the Miami University hockey team, of which he was also the video coordinator and student manager, that he was gay.[12] The story was leaked to ESPN.com.[5] The Burkes appeared on the Canadian sports channel TSN, where Brendan Burke said he hoped his story would give other gay athletes and those working in professional sports the confidence to come forward.[9] The team’s coach, Enrico Blasi, and the rest of the team first learned of Burke’s sexual orientation after the Frozen Four NCAA men’s hockey championship in 2009.[2] Burke was concerned that the news story on his sexual orientation might be distracting to the team, and approached Blasi, offering to walk away from the story if Blasi disapproved.[10] With full veto power on the story, Blasi gave it his full support.[10] His team was also accepting of his sexuality.[8]

    Unfortunately, Brendan died in a car crash and his burgeoning career in advocacy for an end to homophobia in sports culture came to an abrupt end. But his legacy lives on:

    During the 2010 Winter Olympics in Vancouver, Canada, the United States Men’s Hockey Team wore dog tags inscribed with the words “In Memory of Brendan Burke”.[9][10] In June 2010, Chicago Blackhawks president John McDonough announced that he would be sending the team’s recently won Stanley Cup with defenseman Brent Sopel who would march in the 2010 Chicago Gay Pride Parade. Sopel began his NHL career with Vancouver and became friends with Brian Burke when he was the general manager there. Although he was traded to the Atlanta earlier in the week, Sopel honored Brendan Burke by using his day with the Stanley Cup to display it in the Chicago Gay Pride Parade,[27] stating to the press that honoring Burke’s legacy and his father’s example of familial support and tolerance was one of his reasons for marching in the parade.[28] In recognition of the one year anniversary of Burke’s death, the RedHawks wore special sweaters during their weekend game on the February 5, 2011.[12]

    I don’t think this sounds like “the worst sport” in terms of homophobia at least. I could counter the sexism and racism charges too, but I think I’ve made my point. Hockey is on the vanguard of making things better, not lagging behind.

  15. Ileto18 says:

    Have you ever even watched a real hockey game? Maybe if you watched someone other than the Flyers and Rangers you’d see what hockey really is. If you don’t like it, then go do your f**king water aerobics.