Former King Wayne Simmonds is target of racist gesture
Frank Seravalli, who writes about the Flyers for the Philadelphia Daily News, said via Twitter that he saw someone throw a banana at Wayne Simmonds as the former Kings winger was taking a shot during the shootout in an exhibition game at London, Canada.
Simmonds ignored the distraction and scored; Seravalli said he would check with Simmonds -- one of the NHL's few black players -- when he got to the locker room.
Simmonds reacted with class, downplaying the incident. But it's not the first time he has experienced racism in the rink and it would be idealistic to think it will be the last.
If he won't condemn the moron or morons who did this, others should -- and some already have spoken up.
Kevin Weekes, a former NHL goaltender who’s now a TV commentator, had a banana thrown at him during a game in Montreal in 2002. Weekes, who also is black, said Thursday on his Twitter account (@KevinWeekes) that he was "extremely disappointed with what happened to Wayne Simmonds tonight."
Unfortunately, it happens in sports and in life. It's a too-frequent occurrence in soccer, where Brazilian star Roberto Carlos was the target of a banana-thrower in the Russian league in June and said he considered retiring. My Times colleague Lisa Dillman, a fellow soccer fan who is well-plugged in on soccer doings, said various reports quoted his teammates as saying Carlos was in tears afterward in the locker room.
Hockey's locker rooms are overwhelmingly white, but the only colors that should matter are the players' jerseys, not their skin. No one should have to put up with the garbage Simmonds faced Thursday and with which other players have dealt through the years. As hockey fans and human beings we should be better than that.
-- Helene Elliott
Photo: Philadelphia Flyers forward Wayne Simmonds warms up prior to an exhibition game against the Detroit Red Wings in Canada on Thursday. Credit: Tom Szczerbowski / U.S. Presswire