Less than a week after having a banana thrown onto the ice as he is attempting a shot on goal Wayne Simmonds (Simmonds is black) of the Philadelphia Flyers has been accused of hurling a “homophobic” slur at Sean Avery of the NY Rangers. I really don’t have much of an issue with Simmonds who shouted it in the heat of an exchange with Avery and because he didn’t go out of his way to play the victim the prior week with the banana incident. My problem is with my colleagues in the media.
I researched the story to use on air today and nowhere could I find the slur that was uttered anywhere in print. After viewing the video it appears Simmonds said “faggot” during the exchange. While I’m not by any means condoning the use of the word to hurt or demean anyone I do have an issue with our reluctance to print it. The more we continue to use other words to describe words the more power we give the objectionable term.
If we really want to correct bad conduct and reduce the power of certain insults I think we need to just use the word itself at least for reporting purposes. I think we are making a relatively minor problem much bigger than it needs to be and making the insulting term that much more powerful.