Campbell issues statement on Flyers-Rangers flap; Simmonds, Avery unpunished

It was only a matter of time, that the maelstrom of reaction from all sides today, crossed with some very stern words from GLAAD, caused a lengthy response from the National Hockey League.

NHL discipline czar Emeritus, Colin Campbell, issued a statement this evening regarding an  incident  during  Monday night’s preseason contest  between Rangers forward  Sean Avery (Caucasian-Canadian) and Flyers forward Wayne Simmonds (African-Canadian).

Allegedly,  anti-gay and  racial slurs  were exchanged  in heated  discussions
between both players.

Campbell’s  statement said  the league has looked into the allegations but has
not  been able  to substantiate what was  said and by whom. His statement reported that Simmonds  “expressly”  denied using  the homophobic slur he’s alleged to have said,  and  none of the on-ice  officials close to the altercations heard what was supposedly uttered.

Ultimately, Campbell said, the league is unable to take disciplinary action because of the lack of firm information, but reserves the right to revisit the issue.

“All  players, coaches and officials in the National Hockey League deserve the
respect  of  their peers,  and have the  absolute right to  function in a work
environment  that  is  free  from  racially  or  sexually  based  innuendo  or
derision,”  the statement,  issued Tuesday, said. “This is the National Hockey
League’s policy and it will remain so going forward.

“It  also is important to emphasize that the National Hockey League holds, and
will  continue to  hold, our players to higher standards with respect to their
conduct  both on and off the ice. While we recognize that the emotion involved
in  certain  on-ice confrontations may  lead to the  use of highly charged and
sometimes  offensive language and commentary, certain lines cannot be crossed.

Specifically,  we have for many years emphasized to our clubs and players that
commentary directed at the race or ethnicity of other participants in the game
(or   even  non-participants),  or  that  is  otherwise  socially  or  morally
inappropriate  or potentially  hurtful — including as it may relate to sexual
orientation — is absolutely unacceptable and will not be tolerated.”

You can find the full release here.

The  Flyers  won the game  by a 5-3  count. Compounding the drama surrounding the issue is that these perennial rivals do not meet again until
November 26 at Madison Square Garden.