Tale of two slurs: Is it worse to attack someone’s sexuality or race?

Wayne Simmonds, left, and Sean Avery are generating talk about tolerance in sports
after a heated exchange Monday night.

Wayne Simmonds is no stranger to controversy right now.

Last week, an ignorant fan in Ontario threw a banana on the ice as Simmonds was taking a shot in an overtime shootout. Now, he is being accused of yelling a homophobic slur at Sean Avery.

The NHL took no immediate action to seek out or find the racist fan, but it thoroughly investigated the most recent incident.

Which begs two questions: Why fine one and not the other? And is it possible that one slur is worse than another one?

Mike Thompson
Acting Director of Gay & Lesbian Alliance Against Defamation (GLAAD)

He says:
“Hate speech and anti-gay slurs have no place on the ice rink. The word that Simmonds used is the same word that is hurled at LGBT youth on the playground and in our schools, creating a climate of intolerance and hostility. He should not only apologize for this anti-gay outburst, but the Philadelphia Flyers and the NHL have a responsibility to take action and educate their fans about why this word is unacceptable.”

Diop Olugbala
Independent mayoral candidate and President of the People’s Democratic Uhuru Movement
in Philadelphia

He says:
“I don’t think either party who hurled slurs at one another was justified in doing so. My particular view is they were both wrong. I think discrimination and oppression is discrimination and oppression, regardless of whoever is targeted by it. But I do think there needs to be some recognition of the differences. I think one thing we’re looking at is a considerable amount of progress made the way for rights for gays, women and even workers, but we have not seen any progress in terms of transforming the condition or relationships blacks have with this government and social system.”


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