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Avery: Simmonds used homophobic slur

The Sports Xchange
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A week after enduring a racially offensive incident, Philadelphia Flyers forward Wayne Simmonds uttered a homophobic slur directed at New York Rangers winger Sean Avery, Avery said.

Simmonds was spotted on a video replay using what looked to be a homophobic slur toward Avery, who acknowledged the comment after the Flyers' 5-3 win on Monday night.

"Yeah, it's really disappointing," Avery said when questioned about whether Simmonds had used the slur.

The previous week, Simmonds, who is black, had a banana peel thrown on the ice near him during an exhibition against Detroit in London, Ontario.

"To be here now having to answer the questions about what he did is disappointing for me," Avery said. "I'm disappointed for him."

The players were involved in a scrum and Simmonds said he thought Avery had earlier taken a cheap shot at him. While he said he didn't recall exactly what he said, he regarded it as exchanges made in the heat of the moment.

"Honestly, we were going back and forth for a while there," Simmonds said.

Avery had publicly spoken up in support of allowing gay marriage in New York earlier this year. He pointed to an example of NBA star Kobe Bryant getting hit with a fine for his own homophobic slur as a sign that athletes should be more aware of such issues.

"I mean, Kobe Bryant got fined a hundred grand," Avery said. "Everything???s different now. It???s an issue. It???s an issue that people are dealing with and trying to overcome. I guess 10 years ago maybe it wasn???t so much an issue. But it???s certainly an issue politically, with people in the game, and just in life in general."

ESPN New York reported that NHL deputy commissioner Bill Daly responded in an email that the league would be "looking into" the incident, but he had not yet seen the video.

Daly told the website a player's use of offensive language could lead to discipline.

Copyright (C) 2011 The Sports Xchange. All Rights Reserved.

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