Flyers foward Wayne Simmonds, who had a banana thrown at him on the ice while he was making his run in a shootout against the Detroit Red Wings on Wednesday night, issued a statement today via the Flyers.
“It was unfortunate that this incident happened but I am above this sort of stuff. This is something that is out of my control. Moving forward, this incident is something I will no longer comment on so I can just focus on playing hockey for the Philadelphia Flyers.”
Good for him. He shouldn’t let the action of one scumbag get to him or affect his play or mindset in any way. It’s unfortunate that bigotry is still so prevelent in society, but the ability to rise above it speaks volumes for the class and maturity of a person. Simmonds personifies that, which is why even directly after the game he didn’t lose his composure, even though he would be entitled to a bit of a rant. Still he obviously didn’t appreciate the gesture.
“I caught it from the side of my eye,” Simmonds said. “It was a banana. Hopefully, that wasn’t directed towards me being black. Because if it was, that’s just somebody being ignorant.”
“When you’re a black man playing in a predominantly white man’s sport, you’ve got to come to expect things like that,” Simmonds said. “Over the past 23 years of my life, I’ve come to expect some things like that. But I’m older and more mature now, I kind of just left things roll off. I try not to think about stuff like that.”
“I’ve grown a lot playing in this league and throughout my whole life. I’m not going to dwell on that. It’s over with now.”
The following is a statement regarding the incident from Comcast-Spectacor president and COO, Peter Luukko:
“Unfortunately, we weren’t able to identify the individual. We certainly don’t condone such a foolish act (like this) as a player could potentially be seriously injured. This is ninth time we have played here in London and the fans have always been wonderful to us. The Flyers consider this our ‘home away from home’ and that’s because this city, the fans and this spectacular arena have been so supportive of the Philadelphia Flyers.”
And here’s a statement from NHL Commissioner Gary Bettman:
“We have millions of great fans who show tremendous respect for our players and for the game. The obviously stupid and ignorant action by one individual is in no way representative of our fans or the people of London, Ontario.”