When Sheffield Steelers hockey announcer David Simms made homophobic comments over the public-address system at his team’s game over the weekend, he followed it up with a string of half-explanations and weak semi-apologies that left some wondering if he actually regretted what he had done, or he simply regretted getting caught.
If past tweets are any indication, he certainly doesn’t have much restraint in using anti-gay language.
Gay Times magazine editor Ryan John Butcher took to Twitter to expose Simms’ past anti-gay comments and call for his firing from the team (Simms has since locked his tweets so the public cannot see them). After he copied the Steelers, Simms’ team, on some tweets, he got blocked by the team:
The team had issued a statement decrying the comments by Simms and seemingly giving him a slap on the wrist.
Yet I have to wonder if more is warranted. His homophobic tirade now doesn’t seem like just a one-off mistake. He has embraced and relished in his homophobic attacks on other people. As he admitted, he just figured everybody was cool with it — He missed the series of memos over the last decade that said, “overt homophobia and the use of gay slurs is to be avoided.”
That the team blocked Butcher gives me the sinking feeling that no one is taking this seriously with the club, and that homophobia won’t really be addressed.
Hopefully they will reach out to Stonewall UK, or even the North American-based You Can Play project, for some guidance.