London Mayor Joe Fontana has released an official apology to Philadelphia Flyers forward Wayne Simmonds, who was the target of a seemingly racist act when a banana was thrown his way as he skated toward the Detroit Red Wings net during a shootout that capped a 4-3 Flyers pre-season win at London's John Labatt Centre.
"As Mayor, and on behalf of Londoners, I am sending an apology to Wayne Simmonds and the Philadelphia Flyers organization regarding the incident at last night’s exhibition game," the statement reads. "It was a stupid and mindless act by a single individual, however it reflects badly on our entire community. London is a diverse and welcoming city and we like it that way."
NHL commissioner Gary Bettman added his voice to the condemnation of Thursday's incident this morning, blasting the incident as a 'stupid and ignorant' act.
If the incident rattled Simmonds, he didn't appear to show it as he slipped the puck past Red Wings goalie Jordan Pearce. He also scored with less than a minute remaining in the third period to knot the score at 3-3.
"I don't know if it had anything to do with the fact I'm black," Simmonds said. "I certainly hope not. When you're black, you kind
of expect (racist) things. You learn to deal with it."