Avery claims Simmonds used homophobic slur
Flyer can't remember if he said it
|Flyers forward Wayne Simmonds wrestles with Rangers forward Sean Avery at the Wells Fargo Center in Philadelphia, Penn., Sep. 26, 2011. (BRUCE BENNETT/Getty Images/AFP)
Philadelphia Flyers forward Wayne Simmonds is once again the subject of controversy, only this time he might be the offender.
New York Rangers forward Sean Avery told reporters that Simmonds called him a homophobic slur during a scrum in Monday night's pre-season game between the two clubs.
Simmonds admits that the two exchanged words, but doesn't remember if he used a slur against Avery.
"Honestly, we were going back and forth for a while there," Simmonds said. "I don't recall everything that I did say to him but he said to me some things I didn't like and maybe I said some things that he didn't like. I can't recall every single word I said."
Last week, Simmonds made headlines after a fan at the John Labatt Centre in London, Ont., threw a banana at him during a pre-season game against the Detroit Red Wings. Simmonds is one of the few black players in the NHL and the act was widely seen as a racist gesture.
Avery said it was discouraging to hear Simmonds use the slur, especially after what happened in London.
"To be here now and having to answer your questions about what (Simmonds) did is disappointing for me," Avery said.
Earlier this year, Avery put himself at the forefront of the gay rights movement in the state of New York after endorsing marriage equality on behalf of the group Human Rights Campaign.
The recent use of homophobic slurs by athletes has not gone unpunished. Earlier this year, NBA stars Kobe Bryant and Joakim Noah were fined $100,000 and $50,000 respectively for using such language. Bryant directed his comments toward a referee and Noah to a fan.