Now I was not there, I could not watch it on tv, and i doubt many Flyers fans made the trip from Philly to Ontario to see a preseason hockey game. so we have to rely on beat writers and reporters to let us know what happened. I followed the story on twitter last night and it really disgusted me as well as the Flyers organization. When asked about the incident, Flyers representatives well as Comcast-Spectacor President Peter Luukko, all tried to avoid the racist connotation that goes along with such an incident. Luukko said in a statement:
"It appeared as though a fan threw an object onto the ice during the shootout. Unfortunately, we weren't able to identify the individual. We certainly don't condone such a foolish act (like this) as a player could potentially be seriously injured. This is the ninth time we have played here in London and the fans have always been wonderful to us. The Flyers consider this our 'home away from home' and that's because this city, the fans and this spectacular arena have been so supportive of the Philadelphia Flyers."
The incident occurred when Simmonds was attempting his shot in the first round of the shootout. The banana came from somewhere in the stands and crossed Simmonds path approaching the net. Simmonds got the shot off and scored, so how much did it really hurt the game? It actually helped. According to the Philadelphia Daily News, the fan who threw the banana was not caught. When asked to comment, Simmonds said:
"I guess it's something I have to deal with—being a black player playing a predominantly white sport."
Now this is true, Simmonds is one of only twenty-nine black players in the NHL. But since when is it acceptable to throw a banana, certainly a racist gesture, at him? It is just appalling that this occurred. As Philly fans, we are known to have a bad rap, and will probably always be stuck with it forever, but seeing other fans commit acts like this just sickens us. One would be led to believe that this act was premeditated, because what arena sells bananas at their games? I have not been aware of fruit to be a common staple at hockey arena concession stands. The person who brought the banana in had a motive, to throw it on the ice if Wayne Simmonds scored a goal. But if he didn't it would have probably just have been eaten or thrown away and I would not be writing this article. When Simmonds scored with less than a minute left, there was a tweet of an attempted throwing of a banana that did not make it all the way to the ice. Although the fan got another chance only a few minutes later when Simmonds took the puck in during the shoot out.
Simmonds, acquired this off season in a deal with the Los Angeles Kings, has been a good sport about the whole incident, but it is a really sad that he said he has come to expect such things as a black hockey player. A good number of NHL players, have tweeted their support of Simmonds and expressing their disgust for such a terrible racist act. As Flyers fans, we must show our support for Simmonds when the team returns to Philly. This is his new home, and we save our bananas for a rich source of potassium, not for throwing, this isn't Mario Kart.