Hockey exec let off with ‘disgusting gays’ joke has history of anti-gay slurs
The PA announcer for the Sheffield Steelers in the UK’s Elite Hockey League who faced calls for discipline after he ‘joked’ that two men kissing are “disgusting” has a history of making anti-gay comments.
The controversy started when David Simms, who also happens to be an executive for the club, took to the PA.
When the kiss-cam panned to two men kissing, which Simms said was “two lads joking around”, Simms said over the PA: “That’s disgusting! Security, get rid of them.”
Canada’s national hockey league has campaigned for LGBT inclusion (NHL)
Many took to social media to call out the homophobia in the comments, joke or not.
A petition has also bee started calling for the club to take “acceptable action” over the incident, which took place on Saturday.
Simms responded in comments to the Star, saying: “I am not homophobic, you have known me long enough. I haven’t got a bad bone in my body.
“If the comments made upset or offended anybody then of course I apologise completely.
“It was a fun moment on the kiss-cam, we were flicking between different couples, we were trying to trying to win (offer) tickets for the final of the Challenge Cup…and then the comment came out ‘Oh, Security, remove them immediately. Which again I apologised for if people take offence.
“Maybe I live in a different world, I can’t really see the offence I have caused. But if people have been offended…people who know me know I don’t like to offend. And I am truly sorry if I did do.”
But despite his apology, Simms has a long history of making anti-gay comments on the very platform he defended himself on.
IN a number of Tweets, revealed by Gay Times Magazine, Simms refers to teammates and colleagues as “fags”, “gay” and “gay boys”, making suggestive ‘jokes’ about rival teams wanting to see him wearing tight swimming trunks.
The tweets were sent between 2013 and 2016.
The exec now faces more calls to be sacked following the new revelation.
Simms last week took to Twitter and retweeted a number of comments defending him.
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One user tweeted: “Whatever happened with @Simmsey last night is #FakeNewsMedia .I suggest building a wall between Cardiff & Sheffield and make him pay for it.”
Another wrote: “Said as a joke, taken as a joke except for those who want to be offended.”
But after many called him out on the ‘joke’, Simms eventually tweeted: “So for the avoidance of doubt: ‘I realise what I said was unacceptable and apologise unreservedly’.”
A statement was issued by the Steelers, Shawn Smith, operations manager said: “The club would like to put on record our sincere apology to any fans or members of the LGBT community who were offended by comments made by David Simms during the game on Saturday 4th March. In no way did Mr. Simms intend what was said in a derogatory or offensive way. David Simms has personally apologised to fans on social media, the club, the EIHL and has been in touch with LGBT direct. Thank you also to everyone who has taken time to write to the club and voice concerns over this incident.”
According to a hockey blogger in the UK, Paul Wheeler, a Sheffield councillor is putting together a case, including on no action being taken by the club.
This incident comes just after the ‘Hockey is for Everyone Month’, which took place in February this year.