Wayne Simmonds won't be penalized for gay slur; NHL releases statement

PHILADELPHIA, PA - SEPTEMBER 26: Wayne Simmonds #17 of the Philadelphia Flyers skates against the New York Rangers during an NHL preseason game at Wells Fargo Center on September 26, 2011 in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. (Photo by Bruce Bennett/Getty Images)

Wayne Simmonds said something he shouldn't have said, it was picked up by television cameras and he won't be suspended or fined. Agree with that or disagree with that. We've had this debate on the site all day. Sean Avery said bad things that were picked up by microphones, too. He will also not be suspended or fined, not that anybody was calling for that. 

The NHL released a statement on the matter, in which Colin Campbell explained his decision. It didn't fall under Brendan Shanahan's department because it wasn't a matter that dealt with player safety. Campbell explained that there's not sufficient evidence to punish Simmonds, even though everybody in the world knows what he said. 

The full statement from the league:

TORONTO (September 27, 2011) -- Colin Campbell, National Hockey League Senior Executive Vice President of Hockey Operations, today released the following statement regarding an altercation during Monday night's pre-season game between the New York Rangers and Philadelphia Flyers:

"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. 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.

"With that as background, we have looked into the allegations relating to the possible use of a homophobic slur by a Flyers player in the Rangers/Flyers preseason game last night in Philadelphia. Since there are conflicting accounts of what transpired on the ice, we have been unable to substantiate with the necessary degree of certainty what was said and by whom. Specifically, Flyers Player Wayne Simmonds has expressly denied using the homophobic slur he is alleged to have said. Additionally, none of the on-ice officials close to the altercation in question heard any inappropriate slurs uttered by either of the primary antagonists. In light of this, we are unable at this time to take any disciplinary action with respect to last night's events. To the extent we become aware of additional information conclusively establishing that an inappropriate slur was invoked, we are reserving the option to revisit the matter."

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