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Who Said What

via Katie Strang of ESPN New York,

Via email, deputy commissioner Bill Daly confirmed to ESPNNewYork.com that the NHL is “looking into” what happened tonight in the first period of the Rangers’ 5-3 loss to the Flyers.

“We have [the] ability to discipline for language used on the ice,” Daly told ESPNNewYork.com via email, although he noted that the league has never employed that authority in the case of an anti-gay slur.

Daly refrained from immediate judgment because he had not yet seen the video slip of Simmonds calling Rangers winger Sean Avery a homophobic slur.

Filed in: NHL Teams, New York Rangers, Philadelphia Flyers, | KK Hockey | Permalink
  Tags: sean+avery, wayne+simmonds

Comments

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RedMenace's avatar

And now I’m done.  If you guys want to continue this, have fun.

Posted by RedMenace from the Church of Jesus Lashoff on 09/27/11 at 03:53 PM ET

OlderThanChelios's avatar

An outburst like this is not a hate crime.

Factually, that’s just not true. It meets the two main criteria for being a hate crime. One, it’s “verbal abuse” (which is found in most criminal statutes) and, two, it’s a “bias-motivated” crime. It’s every bit as much a “hate crime” as the “assault” on Simmonds by the person who threw the banana at him.

What’s the most disturbing to me about all of this (other than the surprisingly large number of people defending what Simmonds said) is that Simmods, himself, seems to see absolutely nothing wrong in what he said. We all know it’s a crazy world we live in, but that’s just plain nuts.

Posted by OlderThanChelios from Grand Rapids, MI on 09/27/11 at 04:07 PM ET

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I knew this discussion reminded me of something…

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1MNA0_n32Hc

My personal favorite moment comes at the 53 sec mark, but all of it is wildly amusing.

Posted by godblender on 09/27/11 at 04:54 PM ET

J.J. from Kansas's avatar

I’m not supporting what Simmonds did, but to call it a hate crime is to do a disservice to the ACTUAL criminal acts which are carried out by true, dangerous bigots.

To tie the act of chaining a man up and dragging him behind a truck until he’s dead to the act of trying to be hurtful or inflammatory in the heat of a hockey game by the common words “HATE CRIME” minimizes the impact of what those words mean.

Find me a criminal statute under which you could prosecute Wayne Simmonds for calling another man that word and I’ll find you a court case that’s bound to be overturned very quickly.

Wayne Simmonds needs to learn that what he said was wrong and that there’s no place for it in today’s society, even in the heat of the moment during a hockey game while talking to one of the game’s most aggravating verbal jousters. To label him as a man who committed a hate crime is as unjust as making an 18-year old register as a sex offender for the rest of her life because she got caught banging her 17-year-old boyfriend.

It’s as unjust as the assumption that it’s somehow ok to call a person a racial or homophobic slur.

Posted by J.J. from Kansas on 09/27/11 at 04:55 PM ET

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Again, not the same thing.  Threats of murder are punishable by law, and if he’s genuinely afraid for his life Giroux could probably attempt to file a grievance or even a lawsuit.  Is he actually scared?  Probably not.

So the NHL shouldn’t punish Avery because he broke the law, but they should punish Simmonds because he was intolerant?

it’s a “bias-motivated” crime.

I get the “bias-motivated” part (even though Simmonds didn’t say anything beyond “you are a ___ ), but what’s the crime?

The definition I’ve seen is based around “bias-motivated violence” and frankly, I’m not seeing that.  Unless someone can prove that Simmonds believes Avery is gay that the he hit Avery because he believes Avery is gay, then I just don’t see the hate crime.

Posted by Garth on 09/27/11 at 05:12 PM ET

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Posted by J.J. from Kansas on 09/27/11 at 02:55 PM ET

Well said, as always.

Posted by Garth on 09/27/11 at 05:14 PM ET

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The issue isn’t whether or not it’s wrong to say this stuff…...it’s whether or not the league needs to take notice.
How come not one of you finds the coincidence a little odd?  I’ve never even heard of this kind of thing before, and now its the victim of a slur that is being baited?  Gimme a break.  Avery really didn’t target him because he was in the media last week?  Really?
I’m okay with a general statement from the league, but I’m not okay with it if they specifically respond to any allegation that Avery makes.  This is the same Avery that got booted out of Dallas for being a crass sexist.

Posted by tuxedoTshirt on 09/27/11 at 06:05 PM ET

OlderThanChelios's avatar

I’m not supporting what Simmonds did, but to call it a hate crime is to do a disservice to the ACTUAL criminal acts which are carried out by true, dangerous bigots.

I hear what you’re saying – which is why I added the “Factually” at the beginning. Maybe “Technically” would have been a better word.

My point was that prosecutors have brought charges of verbal abuse (probably better described as verbal “assault”) in cases involving blacks (or gays) where the prime motivation of the attacker was a bias against that person’s color (or sexual orientation).

If Simmonds had done on the street what he did on the ice, a case could be made for it being a hate crime. I’m not passing judgement one way or the other whether it should be.

As I said, I’m most disturbed by Simmond’s attitude about this whole thing. He gets bias/hate against himself, but apparently is completely blind to the bias/hate in his own actions.

Posted by OlderThanChelios from Grand Rapids, MI on 09/27/11 at 06:10 PM ET

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Racism is Jim crow laws.  Nazi camps etc.  Calling insensitive comments racism is diminishing what racism really is.  The North American continent is made up of hundreds of diverse groups. 

Sometimes, especially when they get angry at one another, theysay things they shouldn’t.  It’s not nice, it’s not polite but it’s not Racism either.

What a lot of you want is a thought police to censor what people say.  That’s not freedom.  It’s political correctness run amuck.  What goes on with in the game, any game, should stay within the game. 

We can’t have a speech police punishing people for saying the wrong things.

Posted by 13 user names on 09/27/11 at 06:21 PM ET

J.J. from Kansas's avatar

If Simmonds had done on the street what he did on the ice, a case could be made for it being a hate crime. I’m not passing judgement one way or the other whether it should be.

Ah, gotcha.

Posted by J.J. from Kansas on 09/27/11 at 06:48 PM ET

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As I said, I’m most disturbed by Simmond’s attitude about this whole thing. He gets bias/hate against himself, but apparently is completely blind to the bias/hate in his own actions.

Well, to be fair to him, he didn’t seem all that bothered by the banana incident from the quotes I’ve read that were attributed to him.  He pretty much just brushed it off.

Sometimes, especially when they get angry at one another, theysay things they shouldn’t.

That’s the thing.  Just because Simmonds said it doesn’t neccesarily even mean he hates gays or anything to that effect.  The point of trash talk is that you’re trying to insult someone and get him off his game.

It’s like mother jokes.  My mother is one of the nicest people in the world, but I don’t take it personally when a friend uses her as the basis of a joke, because that’s the point of the joke.  Your mother could be saint, taking me in when my parents kicked me out, putting a roof over my head, setting a place at her table for me.  But still, she’s SO FAT!!!

Martin Brodeur is not as slim as he used to be so what’s the easiest and laziest way to try and get under his skin?  Call him fatso.

Avery has come out clearly as someone who supports gay rights, so what is the easiest, laziest way to try to get a rise out of him?  Say something homophobic.

People say horrible,  brutal, terrible things on the ice that fall under the umbrella of trash talking, so why is this different?  Wayne Simmonds didn’t say anything to gay people or about gay people, he said it to one person: Sean Avery.

Should he have said it?  No.  It’s crappy and unfortunate that he said it and it’s worse if he truly is homophobic, but to pretend that what goes on during the game, on the ice, has any relation to the real world is just ridiculous.

Posted by Garth on 09/27/11 at 07:33 PM ET

OlderThanChelios's avatar

Just because Simmonds said it doesn’t neccesarily even mean he hates gays or anything to that effect.

The odds are that things said in the heat of the moment are a reflection of an individual’s true feelings. A bigot is far more likely to use “bias languange” (to use a more legalistic description) when he/she is emotionally charged than under normal circumstances, especially when they’re in a public setting.

Only Simmonds knows whether or not he hates gays. But his actions in the heat of the moment make it more believable that he does.

The point of trash talk is that you’re trying to insult someone and get him off his game.

Hockey isn’t immune from the restraints of society – not these days, especially when it comes to issues of bias. A white player can’t skate up to Simmonds and call him a “n!gger” just to “get him off his game.” It’s just not acceptable. And I have a feeling Simmonds (and Emery) would be the first to agree with that.

So, it’s just as unacceptable for Simmonds (or Cooke or any other “agitator”) to skate around the ice calling players “fags” because they feel like it. And I’m pretty sure the league is going to make that very clear to the players.

Posted by OlderThanChelios from Grand Rapids, MI on 09/27/11 at 08:44 PM ET

Paul's avatar

No action will be taken against Simmonds.

Posted by Paul from Motown Area on 09/27/11 at 09:26 PM ET

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A white player can’t skate up to Simmonds and call him a “n!gger” just to “get him off his game.” It’s just not acceptable.

OK, but the problem is that, if black players who have come out and spoken about it are to be believed, it does happen and for the most part it is accepted.

Hell, look at Simmonds’ reaction to the banana incident.  He spoke about three lines with the last one being, and I’m paraphrasing, “I’m over it.”  Sounds to me like a guy who is used to hearing intensely personal insults on the ice all the time, be they racial or otherwise.

The odds are that things said in the heat of the moment are a reflection of an individual’s true feelings.

Yeah, you’re probably right about that.  My point was simply that the fact he said it during trash talk doesn’t necessarily mean anything.  It could be that he’s read Avery’s thoughts on gay marriage etc and has that line of insults in his back pocket for whenever he plays against Avery.

Again, just because Avery said he was going to kill Giroux doesn’t mean he was actually planning on killing him.  Just because Sean Avery made remarks about Jason Blake’s leukemia doesn’t necessarily mean Avery wants Blake to die of cancer.

And let’s of course not forget who we’re talking about.  Fatso, sloppy seconds, cancer.  This is a guy who trades on making trash talk an absolutely personal affair.  If he gets it back from others, then that’s just life isn’t it?

Posted by Garth on 09/27/11 at 11:38 PM ET

OlderThanChelios's avatar

No action will be taken against Simmonds.

I have to say I’m surprised. Simmonds words were captured on video. But Campbell still found a way “out” of this situation just like he always did in his role as disciplinarian. Thank heavens we have Shanny handling issues that involve player safety. At least that won’t fall victim to political correctness.

It could be that he’s read Avery’s thoughts on gay marriage etc and has that line of insults in his back pocket for whenever he plays against Avery.

Well, Garth, it also could be said that some white player can take note of the color of Simmonds skin and put a line of racial insults “in his back pocket for whenever he plays against” him. In both cases, it’s just not acceptable.

But, hey, in spite of a string of high-profile (and lengthy) suspensions, guys are still running other players into the boards and taking shots at their heads. Sometimes, common sense just doesn’t get through to those who have no sense at all. smile

Posted by OlderThanChelios from Grand Rapids, MI on 09/28/11 at 01:50 AM ET

Avatar

Well, Garth, it also could be said that some white player can take note of the color of Simmonds skin and put a line of racial insults “in his back pocket for whenever he plays against” him. In both cases, it’s just not acceptable.

You say it’s not acceptable, but there have been a number of times black athletes have accused players of using racial slurs and, to my recollection, there’s never been anything done about it.

Until the league starts putting mics on all players and has people dedicated to listening to every feed and punishing anyone who says anything offensive, to punish one guy because the people were able to read his lips on camera and to pretend that this (whether it be racial, homophobic, sloppy seconds, fatso or any other personal insults) is some kind of isolated incident would be disingenuous.

Maybe Simmonds should’ve been fined (And Campbell’s explanation that there was no proof is ridiculous) or maybe the NHL is simply aware that intensely personal, horrible, offensive things are said on the ice all the time.  If anything, maybe this should be the catalyst for change, the way some of the more recent headshots were finally the catalyst for change in that respect.

Posted by Garth on 09/28/11 at 10:28 AM ET

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Paul Kukla founded Kukla’s Korner in 2005 and the site has since become the must-read site on the ‘net for all the latest happenings around the NHL.

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