At least one hockey announcer and team executive in the U.K. thinks two men kissing has no place in hockey.
When two men leaned over to kiss one another during a Kiss Cam moment at a Sheffield Steelers hockey game last Saturday, announcer David Simms (an employee with the team) called it “disgusting” and asked that the men be removed from the rink. Sheffield, England, is located east of Manchester.
That brought on a stern response from many fans.
Surely it's now time for @officialEIHL to kick the racist homophobe David Simms out. Please do the decent thing. No place for either today!— Craig Forman (@FormanCraig) March 4, 2017
Two blokes kiss on the big screen and @steelershockey announcer says "that's disgusting, get them out" joke or not, that's homophobic.— kieran (@kielawrence97) March 4, 2017
While we’ve heard in-game homophobia from athletes and fans, this is the first time in memory that a venue announcer broadcast his personal homophobia for the entire arena to hear.
“David’s actions on Saturday night were foolish and thoughtless,” Steelers managing director Tony Smith said in a statement. “I must stress David’s actions do not reflect the attitude or policy of the Sheffield Steelers towards the LGBT community – we are a family and welcome each and everyone to the Steelers games without exception and hope this regrettable incident brings the Steelers and the LGBT community closer together in the future.”
Simms has expressed some level of regret that he did what he did, but not before he muddied the waters with more off-message commentary.
“Maybe I live in a different world,” Simms told the BBC after the event. “I can’t really see the offense I have caused. ... Unfortunately the world has moved on to a place that either I haven’t realized it’s got to or I am comfortable with.”
When he realized that wasn’t going to quite cut it, he offered an initial “apology” that made everyone else wrong for their reaction:
It was a tough day. I genuinely meant no offence yesterday but many have certainly made more of it than there was.— David Simms (@Simmsey) March 5, 2017
When that didn’t quiet the crowds on and off Twitter, the next day he copy and pasted the suggested “apology” of a Twitter follower and used that:
So for the avoidance of doubt: "I realise what I said was unacceptable and apologise unreservedly" https://t.co/Rb8qczp7kP— David Simms (@Simmsey) March 6, 2017
I actually really appreciate Simms’ honesty about his feelings through all of this. As he told the BBC, he doesn’t get it, he’s not comfortable with it, and he doesn’t even realize that most of the rest of Western society has gotten past any issues of two men kissing in a hockey rink.
Now the club has to figure out if they want this guy calling their games anymore.