London mayor issues apology

JENNIFER O'BRIEN, QMI Agency

, Last Updated: 2:08 PM ET

LONDON, ONT. - As news of a racist incident at the John Labatt Centre continues to spread across the hockey world, London Mayor Joe Fontana has issued a public apology to the player who was targeted.

"As Mayor, and on behalf of Londoners, I am sending an apology to Wayne Simmonds and the Philadelphia Flyers organization regarding the incident at last night's exhibition game," said the statement, which Fontana sent to the company that owns the Flyers, asking the message be passed on to Simmonds.

His statement came the morning after someone threw a banana at Simmonds, who is black, during a Flyers-Red Wings pre-season match up in London Thursday night.

"It was a stupid and mindless act by a single individual, however it reflects badly on our entire community," the statement continued. "London is a diverse and welcoming city and we like it that way."

Earlier Friday, Fontana appealed to the public to help identify the person who threw the banana.

Simmonds could not be reached immediately for comment, but also issued a statement, saying he wants to put the incident behind him "It was unfortunate that this incident happened but I am above this sort of stuff. This is something that is obviously out of my control. Moving forward, this incident is something I will no longer comment on so I can just focus on playing for the Philadelphia Flyers."

Meanwhile, the apparent hateful incident continues to generate headlines across North America -- an unfortunate situation for London.

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