Wayne Simmonds was asked about racist Tweets fired out into the ether about Joel Ward, the Capitals forward who scored the Game 7 winner against the Bruins last night. Simmonds has worked out with Ward each of the last two summers.
“It’s the Internet. They can say whatever they want, and they don’t have to show their faces,” said Simmonds, who, like Ward, is one of 28 black players in the NHL. “It’s disgusting. Things like that have happened to me before. It’s not something you want to happen, but it’s sad in this day and age that it continues to happen.”
“It is what it is. People can be as gutless as they want,” he said. “They don’t have to show up. They just throw a comment out on the Internet and it’s getting kind of ridiculous. Social media is not meant for that. It’s for ‘Say, hey, nice score. Congratulations.’ You’re not supposed to throw things out like that.”
Gutless, seems to be the Flyers word du jour (mmm that sounds good and you’ll have that), but it works here. Though we're probably required to mention that Simmonds allegedly called Sean Avery a faggot during the preseason… which was a week after Simmonds had a banana thrown at him in Canada. Bigotry FTW!
As we pointed out earlier, there were similar Tweets about Simmonds during the Penguins series, but they weren't nearly to the level of what we saw from Boston fans last night. Of course, Simmonds didn’t score any overtime winners, so it’s entirely possible that we would have seen the same thing happen had he been the one to finish off the Penguins in historic and damning fashion, like his teammate Claude Giroux did.
It’s also worth noting that while last night’s Tweets mostly came from Bruins fans, this probably – unfortunately – would have happened in just about any city.