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Ontario fan throws banana at Wayne Simmonds in shameful racist display

Sep 22, 2011, 11:10 PM EDT

Wayne Simmonds AP

In what the NHL calls a “stupid and ignorant” display of racism, at least one fan threw a banana at black Philadelphia Flyers winger Wayne Simmonds during a shootout attempt tonight. Simmonds still managed to score on his attempt, although the Flyers ended up losing that preseason game to the Detroit Red Wings in front of a neutral-site crowd in London, Ontario.

It’s possible that this wasn’t the only time a fan attempted to throw a banana at Simmonds during the game, either. Brian Floyd passes along a fan’s note that someone tried to hit Simmonds with one late in the third period when he scored a 3-3 goal to send the contest to overtime, but that attempt fell short.

Sam Carchidi caught up with Simmonds following the game, who confirmed that it happened but said he didn’t want to make a big deal about it. Here’s a little more from Simmonds on what must have been a strange moment.

“I don’t know if it had anything to do with the fact I’m black,” the Toronto native said. “I certainly hope not. When you’re black, you kind of expect (racist) things. You learn to deal with it.”

Simmonds acknowledged the banana rattled him, and his only thought was to get off a shot — which went in for the Flyers’ only score in the shootout.

“It shocked me and knew I had to keep going and get a shot off,” he said. “It was certainly unusual.”

Simmonds deserves credit for shaking it off in such a professional way, but the fan (or fans) should be ashamed for that revolting act. To add an extra level of sadness to an already awful situation, Simmonds is a Scarborough, Ontario native.

Unfortunately, this isn’t the first time hockey fans have thrown bananas at a black hockey player. Former Carolina Hurricanes goalie Kevin Weekes dealt with the racial epithet during a 2002 series against the Montreal Canadiens.

As far as exchanges between opponents, it’s impossible to know how many slurs fly around during trash talking sessions, although there was at least once incident in which the matter became public. Georges Laraque accused Sean Avery of calling him a “monkey” in 2005, a claim that Avery denied.

Naturally, hockey isn’t the only sport in which fans interact with black players in such a way. (Soccer fans have a reputation of doing so, for example.) That doesn’t make it any less disturbing, especially since it’s far from uncommon to see black players in prominent roles now. Groundbreaking players such as Willie O’Ree and Grant Fuhr have made way for an impressive wave of stars, from Jarome Iginla to Evander Kane and Dustin Byfuglien.

Obviously, such a ghastly display of racism is discouraging – it’s 2011, after all – but hopefully this will just be an ugly, isolated incident.

Update (10:15 am ET):  NHL commissioner Gary Bettman released the following statement regarding the incident.

“We have millions of great fans who show tremendous respect for our
players and for the game. The obviously stupid and ignorant action by one
individual is in no way representative of our fans or the people of London,

  1. icelovinbrotha215 - Sep 22, 2011 at 11:31 PM

    For those of you who still think race isn’t an issue, well there ya go. As a black ice hockey player and ref, you’d be surprised by the way some people treat ya just because you are of different ethnicity. Racism will NEVER go away. There will always be that small hand full of peoples who want hockey to be a Caucasian sport.

    • 1742hawk - Sep 23, 2011 at 2:20 AM

      Oh please, Poor, poor me. Put the skates on and keep the whistle in your mouth ref.

      • icelovinbrotha215 - Sep 23, 2011 at 7:25 AM

        Haha its ok @1742hawk. I’m not asking for anyone to feel sorry for me. It’s people like you who I just shake my head and smile. Don’t worry, your narrow-mindedness hamper your ability to live life the way it should be. That’s if it hasn’t already. Like I said, it’s a small handle full of you dudes ( and chics) that just can’t stand anyone outside the Caucasian race. I wonder if you are a closet racist or have the guts to display your feelings publicly. I’m sure you wouldn’t get away with that nonsense in most place. You just need to hug it out haha.

      • spiffy53 - Sep 23, 2011 at 9:59 AM

        1742Hawk, ding. ding. ding. you are the winner of the most idiotic and uneducated post of the day. you truely add nothing to society (based on almost all of your postings). now get back in your trailer and keep eating those cheetos. AS$ Clown champion of the internet.

      • 1742hawk - Sep 24, 2011 at 3:53 AM

        IceLovinBrotha215……Sorry ref, but I think you are missing the point. I could care less about the color of anybody’s skin. I don’t prejudge a person by their race, or ethnicity. And I could care less about a hockey player’s or any other athlete’s skin color. What does your screen name say about you? You love hockey AND you are African American. Is that necessary? Do you have a custom licence plate on your car with the same message? It seems to me that you are the one that doesn’t want to live in a colorblind society. And I have serious doubts that you ever want racism to ever end.

      • jambamania - Sep 24, 2011 at 6:50 PM

        nobody saw the fan? my guess is that fan had a big nose & slightly curly hair. If that’s true, then that fan is one sick fu?k.
        there are lots of people right now in the americas with big noses & sligtly curly hair & tells everybody they’re Germans or something else instead of being a proud Jew. It’s time to release the real genetics out there! so, there’d be few of this.

    • stepasidesue - Sep 23, 2011 at 2:44 AM

      Racism in America is on the upswing. I have never seen such hate in this country.
      It brakes my heart. Do you think if Obama was white our country would be in the state is in. The conflicts in congress are unprecedented.

      • galuple - Sep 23, 2011 at 3:28 AM

        And the sad thing was, this happened in Canada.

      • trbowman - Sep 23, 2011 at 3:32 AM

        And predictably enough, one moronic fan has led to people blowing this out of proportion and acting as if racism is still a huge issue in sports.

      • flyersfan88 - Sep 23, 2011 at 3:42 AM

        what the hell does that have to do with the story? FYI moron,it didn’t happen in America. You people need to read the articles before commenting.

      • karen14217 - Sep 23, 2011 at 6:13 AM

        flyersfan88, I think you are the person who needs to read the article. The game was held in London, Ontario.

        So please don’t be so quick to call another person a “moron”. Not necessary to be so rude even if the other person was wrong, eh?

        Galupe, probably most of the people at the game were US fans, so it doesn’t reflect on – Canadians…of course, it is possible that the scumbag who threw the banana was Canadian (or a dual citizen)…

        btw, Can anyone tell me shy a game between Detroit and Philadelphia would be played in Ontario? This mystifies me.

      • tommytd - Sep 23, 2011 at 6:22 AM

        You’re more of an idiot than the guy who threw the banana. WHAT DOES OBAMA HAVE TO DO WITH ANY OF THIS???

      • bzz0 - Sep 23, 2011 at 11:48 AM

        @karen14217 Detroit is about 2 hours by car from London, which has a very large Wings fan base. Also, the John Labatt Centre is managed by the same company that manages the Wachovia Center. I believe this is the 5 or 6th year in a row the Flyers have played a pre-season game there.

    • kellyb9 - Sep 23, 2011 at 9:53 AM

      I’d rather not misconstrue the actions of one idiot to be the general sentiment across hockey or hockey towns. It would be hard, and narrowsighted, to argue that hockey isn’t a mostly caucasian sport right now, so I certaintly give you a lot of credit for breaking that trend.

  2. stakex - Sep 22, 2011 at 11:36 PM

    “Was that a banana??”

    (Props to anyone who knows what thats from)

    All I can say is I hope the fan was arrested. Not for his belief, as your free to think what ever you want… but simply because he threw something at a player. Such behaviour can not be tollerated.

    • ThatGuy - Sep 23, 2011 at 11:05 AM

      Are we sure the guy just didnt think he was playing NHL Arcade? BIIIGG GOAAALLIIIEEEE

      • stakex - Sep 23, 2011 at 11:58 AM

        Ahhh such a great game. :)

  3. 1943mrmojorisin1971 - Sep 23, 2011 at 12:10 AM

    I hope nobody judges Canadian fans in general based on this disgusting act. We’re good people, but every team and country has its a-hole fans as we saw tonight

    • icelovinbrotha215 - Sep 23, 2011 at 1:24 AM

      I highly doubt Canada is worse than America. But incidents like this should remind everyone that we still live in a world of hatred. I mean, Simmers was playing hockey. That’s it. Playing a sport that we all love. Both in Canada and USA. Dislike him cause is a Flyer and not a Maple Leaf. But because of his skin? It’s ridiculous. This is nothing new but it still baffles me ha. I’m just glad that most of the people who I’ve met outside my race have been nothing but classy. God Bless you for actions. As for the banana thrower, you will get what’s coming to ya in due time.

  4. sharksfan754 - Sep 23, 2011 at 12:15 AM no he wasn’t arrested. Sad to hear that. He played for the kings for so long and he seemed like a good dude. Sad to hear this as a sharks fan having been to Georgia and Alabama I know there still some issues for sure (and sadly a bit still here in the bay) but in Canada kinda surprises me. I’ve only been to Vancouver but Canadians seemed like the nicest people I’ve ever been around as a stranger

  5. jbny14 - Sep 23, 2011 at 12:17 AM

    This stuff seems to happen more frequently up in Canada. What’s up with that? I honestly can say that someone would not get away with that garbage in one of our rinks without catching a right hook or at least a big deal made of it. That’s straight cowardice.

    • 1943mrmojorisin1971 - Sep 23, 2011 at 12:23 AM

      If you’re going to imply there is more racism in Canada than the US (I assume) the least you can do is offer some kind of proof. Like I said, don’t judge our country based on a couple of idiots

      • flyersfan88 - Sep 23, 2011 at 3:44 AM

        ah doesn’t feel good being judged now does it? Now you know how most of us americans feel.

      • karen14217 - Sep 23, 2011 at 6:15 AM

        We lived in Edmonton for two years, I am white and my husband is Asian. He got lots of crap from white Canadians, as did my two mixed race kids. Don’t think you are better than other countries.

      • 1943mrmojorisin1971 - Sep 23, 2011 at 3:29 PM

        Did I say Canada was better? No, I said that if someone wants to assert Canada is just as racist or more so than the US they should probably offer something to support that. Otherwise they just look like a jackass. Also, you lived in a prairie province, far less tolerant than the major cities in Canada. If this incident happened at a Leafs-Flyers regular season game I guarantee you somebody would’ve popped that idiot or at least pointed him out

    • galuple - Sep 23, 2011 at 3:30 AM

      Isn’t just Canada. There are ass**les in every country.

  6. meaz23 - Sep 23, 2011 at 4:45 AM

    Bring the fan to Georgia or Texas so he can be exectued.

    • modogg42 - Sep 23, 2011 at 9:05 PM

      Bring the fan to Philly and let him throw a bannanna at Simmonds during a game. Would probably teach him/her better then getting arrested.

  7. krissyannd - Sep 23, 2011 at 4:56 AM

    Makes me ashamed to be of the same race as the fan that tossed the bananan. The HUMAN RACE.

  8. b8375629 - Sep 23, 2011 at 5:22 AM

    I thought it was pretty funny, myself.

    Why don’t you try the banana thrower with a hate crime. Give him life without possibility of parole for politically incorrect crimes against bananadom


    • joebarnes1 - Oct 2, 2011 at 1:36 PM

      I know bananas come from a warm climate, to throw one on the ice is very insensitive.

  9. razedeyebrow - Sep 23, 2011 at 5:46 AM

    Simmons should have done to that “fan” what the Hanson Brothers did to the key thrower in Slap Shot.

  10. acieu - Sep 23, 2011 at 7:46 AM

    Did he peel and eat it?

  11. Panda Claus - Sep 23, 2011 at 7:50 AM

    I don’t care for the Flyers, but like the way Simmonds responded to this unpleasant incident. He’s earned my respect regardless of how good a player he might or might not be.

  12. hockeyfan1701 - Sep 23, 2011 at 8:03 AM

    What happens when a racist term is used against another white culture from Europe, we never even hear about it. It is still wrong, yet when it involves a player who is black it is the top story…….

    • icelovinbrotha215 - Sep 23, 2011 at 8:06 AM

      And what is your point?

    • hatrhurter - Sep 23, 2011 at 8:49 AM

      really? it wasn’t even the top story in the sports section. it was the fourth or fifth story in sports.

    • grudenthediva - Sep 23, 2011 at 12:22 PM

      Oh you mean like when white French-Canadian players are called frogs? Yeah, those incidents are never covered, sure.

      Figured you idiots would show up eventually.

  13. jbny14 - Sep 23, 2011 at 8:56 AM

    I just don’t think that type of behavior would be accepted by the whole in an American Arena versus the way it seems acceptable or “no big deal” with the crowds in Canada. I live in a border city where we have lots of Canadian fans and they seem to turn off the “social filter” at games. Just a different culture i suppose yet, still unacceptable.

    • sexyya - Sep 23, 2011 at 10:30 AM

      jbny, shut up. If there are more racist incidents, it’s in America. I live in both countries, there are more racial incidents in the US than in Canada.

      • jbny14 - Sep 23, 2011 at 11:01 AM

        You live in both countries? Talk about riding the fence. Anyways, I was implying that going to hockey/football games where I live (border city), it would be extremely surprising to me to hear someone that’s American drop some racist garbage without serious social repercussions.

        On the other hand, I could definitely see one of the Leafs or Habs fans (not all Canadians) saying something stupid like that. They turn off the social filter at the game thereby putting common sense in the back seat. It’s obv a cultural thing. So, go sit in the corner and shut YOUR face.

      • 1943mrmojorisin1971 - Sep 23, 2011 at 3:32 PM

        What do you know about Leafs fans? I’ve been going to games since I was 6 years old and have never seen an incident like this or heard racial slurs directed at players. Can’t speak for the Habs fans but I from what I’ve seen they’re not racist (they just don’t like Americans in general. Or Canadians for that matter). Get your facts straight before you run your mouth

      • jbny14 - Sep 23, 2011 at 3:52 PM

        Classic Leafs response… you’re wrong, we’re right. Listen Clown, I have been playing and watching hockey for almost 25 yrs and don’t need to be Canadian to prove that one. I live in one of the greatest hockey markets in all of the states and when you (Leafs fans) or Montreal fans come to town, you make complete drunk asses out of yourselves… so, yeah I would say my facts are straight and I’ll run my mouth all I want.

      • 1943mrmojorisin1971 - Sep 23, 2011 at 4:32 PM

        Saying we get drunk and run our mouths at the opposing team and fans is one thing. Accusing of us of being racists and/or accepting of racism is a completely different one. It’s an accusation I really don’t care to hear, especially from some uninformed bozo looking to prove he’s a big man on a comment board. And that’s all I have to say about that

      • jbny14 - Sep 23, 2011 at 5:24 PM

        I’m pretty sure that I never pointed the finger and said RACISTS…

        What I did say was that the fans don’t seem to care what they say or do when they are in the crowd at these games. It’s like the difference between locker room talk and talking to your wife and kids, two totally different things.

        Canadians are good people, I’m sure even you have your moments, but that apparently goes out the window during these games. The worst part about all of it is that he brought the banana with him to the game, clearly premeditated, and no one stopped him.

        So, what now tough guy?

      • nascarblog2011 - Sep 24, 2011 at 6:02 PM

        I live in Canada and i have heard more racial remarks here then anywhere else

      • nascarblog2011 - Sep 24, 2011 at 6:04 PM

        I live in Canada, I hear more racial comment here then i have anywhere else and that includes the USA

  14. newagerocker - Sep 23, 2011 at 10:11 AM

    Just wait until the US runs out of resources and we annex Canada. You can throw all the bananas you want, we’re still going to take the place over.

    • 1943mrmojorisin1971 - Sep 23, 2011 at 4:32 PM

      We beat you in 1812 and we’ll beat you again…..

  15. readwell1234 - Sep 23, 2011 at 10:24 AM

    This person should not be able to attend an event for 3 years and then charged with civil rights violations against the player, the teams, and the NHL. This individual took the attentions of both the offensive and defensive players, and the official NHL personnel at that moment, away from the contest.

  16. sexyya - Sep 23, 2011 at 10:28 AM

    BOO HOO. I love the way people are saying it happened in Canada. I will be you this guy that threw the banana is from Detroit. I mean they played in London, just a drive away from Detroit. People in Ontario are busy worrying about their Maple Leafs to care about a Red Wings-Flyers game. And Ontario is one of the most friendly-diversity place in the world.

    • nascarblog2011 - Sep 24, 2011 at 5:55 PM

      I don’t believe that,why would you say that. that has got to be the worse comment i’ve seen since the invention of the internet!!!

  17. sanityisknocking - Sep 23, 2011 at 10:31 AM

    I’m wondering how throwing a banana = racism. Can it not also just mean that someone just doesn’t like this guy as a player?

    • icelovinbrotha215 - Sep 23, 2011 at 10:44 AM

      A banana thrown at a black person is implying they are a monkey. And last time I checked that’s an act of racism.

    • spiffy53 - Sep 23, 2011 at 10:56 AM

      sanityisknocking, and stupidity opened your door.

      • 1742hawk - Sep 24, 2011 at 4:52 AM

        Spiffy53…..95% of your commentary is an insult about how stupid the other person is. Can’t you write a rebuttal? I’d be happy to do mental calisthenics with you any day.

        And by the way, I have never slapped a woman before…but I’ll make an exception on your behalf.

  18. mogogo1 - Sep 23, 2011 at 11:23 AM

    I think the worst part is that it was premeditated. A spur-of-the-moment slur would be bad enough, but to imagine this guy making a special stop ahead of time to get bananas to do this is pretty disturbing.

  19. makenz04 - Sep 23, 2011 at 11:27 AM

    I am not racist in any way, so it is always hard for me to comprehend why people that are think it’s okay to do and say the things they do. And even harder to comprehend how they don’t realize how stupid they look when doing it. I am a white female and I have experience racism towards me from all races, every race has racists.

    That being said, I am also fiercely completive. Attending many WAZZU football games I can tell you that the things we threw at the opposing teams players never had anything to do with the color of their skin, only with the color of their jersey.

    I think the player reacted commendable for a bad situation no matter the fans motives. I just don’t know it if it was racially motivated, but that may be because of what I said before, I just can’t comprehend thinking that way and it sickening that there are people out there that can.

  20. jbraxton3rd - Sep 23, 2011 at 11:41 AM

    As he said, black people are used to insults from ignorant racists. Unfortunately, that’s how some white people only know how to act..

    • 1742hawk - Sep 24, 2011 at 2:25 PM

      And vice versa.

  21. xoxoemilyrae - Sep 23, 2011 at 12:45 PM

    I don’t mean to play devil’s advocate here, but how do we know the banana peel throwing was racist? Maybe thats just what the dude happened to be eating. If he had been eating an apple then he’d have thrown an apple core.

    I’m not saying this is likely, but just perspective. As the article says, the “thrower” was not identified or caught, so we can’t exactly 100% say what his intention was. It could just be that he was an opposing fan who wanted the dude to miss his shot! Sounds completely plausible as well.

    • cowboysblowgoats - Sep 23, 2011 at 1:28 PM

      I guess it would not be racist if he threw watermelon either. I mean, it’s just what he happened to be eating.

      Have you ever taken a banana to a hockey fame?

      • icelovinbrotha215 - Sep 23, 2011 at 2:22 PM

        People are completely missing that point. When was the last time you saw someone with a banana at a hockey game!? This was a premeditated act. Anyone denying it is kidding themselves.

      • 1742hawk - Sep 24, 2011 at 4:12 AM

        If the fan threw a box of Saltines at a white player, is he calling him a “cracker”?

  22. toosano - Sep 23, 2011 at 1:42 PM

    I think the bottom line here is that this is the exception, rather than the rule. You’re almost always going to have one bad banana in the bunch.

  23. capsrockva - Sep 23, 2011 at 2:13 PM

    The other people in the stands should have pointed him out quickly

    • jbny14 - Sep 23, 2011 at 2:28 PM

      Yeah, with their fists… That junk is completely unacceptable, it’s 2011.

    • toosano - Sep 23, 2011 at 4:08 PM

      Yea, why wouldn’t one person speak up unless it was thrown from a tunnel or someplace a bit hidden.

  24. ffej49 - Sep 23, 2011 at 2:53 PM

    I’m from London. This is not what we are about. Another instance of one person doing something so stupid and irresponsible that they make a city of 350000 people look bad. I hate the flyers… But I feel truly saddened that this player was subjected to such bigotry.

  25. My Big List Of Blogs - Sep 23, 2011 at 6:21 PM

    I don’t understand how throwing a banana at someone is considered racist – what if they just didn’t like the team? Would the outcome have be any different if it was some sort of other fruit or vegetable?

    • jbny14 - Sep 23, 2011 at 7:00 PM

      You clearly are Canadian… Seriously?

    • toosano - Sep 28, 2011 at 2:14 PM

      What rock have you been living under?

  26. The Grand Occident - Sep 24, 2011 at 1:32 PM

    What if… it was proven that Blacks are a different sub-species than Whites/Asians? If Neanderthal DNA was present in Whites/Asians but not Blacks, making them profoundly different, having evolved differently over thousands of years?

    It’s not ‘what if’ – it’s true.

    Anyone with eyes can see that the races are not “equal” but the media masters do their best to brainwash everyone to believe otherwise.

    If “equality” really existed between individuals, races, and sexes we wouldn’t need legislation to enforce it.

  27. nascarblog2011 - Sep 24, 2011 at 5:49 PM

    You mean to tell me that with all those fans that night No One seen the person throw anything onto the ice, come on people. this has got to stop already

  28. nancygreggs - Sep 27, 2011 at 2:49 PM

    Isn’t it possible that an overzealous fan thought the monkey might be hungry? I fail to see anything ‘racist’ in any of this. Seems everyone has to pull the race card every time something happens involving a pavement ape.

    • jbny14 - Sep 27, 2011 at 3:21 PM

      You’re a disgusting waste of human flesh and I have no worries that you’ll get yours. You should be ashamed of yourself. Garbage.

    • toosano - Sep 28, 2011 at 2:16 PM

      Man, what a weak troll.

  29. The Grand Occident - Sep 30, 2011 at 11:50 PM

    Why does everyone get so upset about a banana being thrown, but they say nothing about over 3000 White women getting raped by Blacks in the United States every year?

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