New York Rangers forward Sean Avery tends to elicit the "best" from his opponents on the ice, and is rarely portrayed as the good guy because of his antics. In an intense, penalty-filled first period of a preseason tilt between the Rangers and Philadelphia Flyers, Avery was on the ice quite often with forward Wayne Simmonds, who was recently the victim of a racist act when a banana was thrown at him from the stands in a preseason game in London, Ontario.
The two were seen jawing with one another on a number of occasions, but the trash talking took an uncalled-for turn as television cameras (shown here) caught Simmonds issuing a six-letter homophoboic slur directed at Avery. The Rangers' super pest confirmed such to reporters post game.
Whether or not this was related to Avery recording a PSA in support of gay marriage or just heaved at the Rangers' forward because of his reputation, it is sickening and inexcusable.
"To be here now having to answer the questions about what he did is disappointing for me. I'm disappointed for him," Avery said.
Don't get me wrong, Avery certainly had things to say to Simmonds -- some were probably very unpleasant. But to have that type of profane language caught on tape takes it to a whole other level.
What makes this even worse was that Simmonds hid behind the "it's Sean Avery" veil after the game when pressed by reporters, instead of being a man and admitting what he said and that what he said was wrong.
"He didn't think he said something?" Simmonds said. "It's Sean Avery, come on now. Who knows what comes out of his mouth? We were going back and forth, battling the whole time. He definitely said some things to me that I wasn't too happy about, but that's the way it is."
But when questioned about what it was that Avery said to him, Simmonds replied:
"I don't know. I can't recall every single word that was said, so I can't really - I'm not here to be, not to say that 'He said this.' I'm not going to rat him out. It doesn't really matter to me."
Seems a bit suspicious that No. 1: Simmonds cannot remember what he said and No. 2: he has no recollection of what Avery said when asked by reporters.
Kobe Bryant was fined 100 grand for using the same epithet against an NBA referee in April, so Avery believes that Simmonds should be penalized as well.
"Everything's different now," Avery said as quoted by the NY Daily News. "It's an issue. It's an issue that people are dealing with and trying to overcome and I guess 10 years ago maybe it wasn't so much an issue, but it's certainly an issue politically, with people in the game, and just in life in general."
It's likely that a $2,500 fine will be levied on Simmonds, which is the maximum fine that can be given out under the CBA. The 23-year-old will have a meeting with the NHL to discuss the incident, and I'd expect a punishment to be handed down.