GLAAD, the Gay & Lesbian Alliance Against Defamation, issued a press release today directed at the Flyers:
New York, NY, September 27, 2011 – The Gay & Lesbian Alliance Against Defamation (GLAAD), the nation's lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) media advocacy and anti-defamation organization, today issued the following statement after Philadelphia Flyers' player Wayne Simmonds appeared on camera shouting “fa**ot” during a preseason game last night, directed at marriage equality advocate Sean Avery of the New York Rangers:
"Hate speech and anti-gay slurs have no place on the ice rink," said GLAAD Acting President Mike Thompson. "The word that Simmonds used is the same word that is hurled at LGBT youth on the playground and in our schools, creating a climate of intolerance and hostility. He should not only apologize for this anti-gay outburst, but the Philadelphia Flyers and the NHL have a responsibility to take action and educate their fans about why this word is unacceptable."
GLAAD is in dialogue the Philadelphia Flyers as well as the National Hockey League (NHL) about specific next steps. Updates will be posted on www.glaad.org/blog as they become available.
Recently, GLAAD has worked with sports leagues including the National Basketball Association (NBA), Major League Baseball (MLB) and the World Wrestling Federation (WWE) to address issues of homophobia in sports.
Oh lord. I'd like to refer you to Anthony Sanfilippo's blog for the Delco Times, because, really, I couldn't have said it much better.
There's no doubt that pro athletes (and everyone, really) should choose their words more carefully. But singling out one guy for something that is said across every level of every sport – as wrong as it may be – is not the appropriate course of action.