As reported by Change.org, what do you do when someone hurls a homophobic slur at a hero? If you’re the National Hockey League, you turn a blind eye.
New York Rangers forward Sean Avery joined the campaign to fight for same-sex marriage in New York this spring, knowing full well he might get blowback from opponents in the NHL. Avery stood up for his beliefs, and he thought the NHL would have his back… but he was wrong.
Two days ago, Philadelphia Flyers player Wayne Simmonds called Sean Avery a “f*cking f*ggot” during an exhibition game. Avery complained to NHL officials, but the officials say they won’t fine Simmonds because “there are conflicting accounts of what transpired on the ice.” This despite the fact that Simmonds can clearly be seen mouthing the slur on video.
Gay rights activist and avid hockey fan Gloria Nieto thinks this is just plain wrong, so she started a petition on Change.org imploring the NHL to fine Wayne Simmonds for his use of an anti-gay slur. Please sign Gloria’s petition today.
Other professional sports leagues have cracked down on homophobic slurs. When Kobe Bryant used the same slur as Simmonds, the National Basketball Association fined him $100,000. Nearly a third of all Major League Baseball teams have made “It Gets Better” videos to stand up against anti-gay bullying.
The NHL’s inaction is not only a step backward in the fight to end the culture of homophobia in professional sports. It’s also a betrayal of Sean Avery, who represents the very best of how professional athletes can help the fight for gay rights.
If the NHL is allowed to ignore Simmonds’ slur, that sends a dangerous signal to other hockey players: Don’t bother supporting the LGBT community. Your league won’t have your back if you do.
NHL officials need to know that you are watching their actions closely and fully expect them to hold Wayne Simmonds accountable. Please sign Gloria’s petition asking the NHL to fine Wayne Simmonds for his use of an anti-gay slur:
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