At the end of Thursday Night's preseason contest between the Detroit Red Wings and Philadelphia Flyers in London, Ontario, some idiot fan in the stands decided to commit what is perhaps the most despicable fan act I've seen in hockey. As Wayne Simmonds skated in on Jordan Pearce to open the overtime shootout, a currently unidentified fan threw a banana at Simmonds, the black Canadian-born right winger. Simmonds scored on his shootout attempt by roofing a backhand shot over an outstretched Pearce, but the game is not what's important.
Someone threw a banana from the stands at Wayne Simmonds as he was going in on a shootout. Totally uncalled for and wrong. He still scored. And I'm not kidding you, it was a banana. I need to get confirmation when I go down to the locker room. #stunned
I'm at a loss for words about what to say in relation to this. I'm saddened by a disgusting and racist act committed by a fan of the game.
Unfortunately, not everybody was at such a loss for words. In fact, Yahoo.com's Ryan Lambert (@twolinepass) on Twitter, wasn't interested in taking pause to collect any more information, instead choosing to assume that it was a Red Wings fan who threw the banana and jumping immediately into a statement that surpassed even his usual vitriolic schtick into outright bigotry.
Now let's level, it makes sense that it would be a Red Wings fan. If you're a fan of the Flyers (even one who is stupid enough to be a racist prick), you're probably not chucking fruit at your players while they're trying to win a game. That's not the point though.
The point is that Ryan Lambert chose to respond to the act of one man who would consider an entire group of people inferior humans worthy of ridicule with a comment loaded with the same bigoted invective that he would purport to despise.
Think about it: One person committed a racist act, and as a result, Lambert has labeled EVERY SINGLE RED WINGS FAN a racist piece of human garbage. Now, not to get cute in the middle of a rant here, but the two acts are pulled from the same bunch. In responding to racism with bigotry, Lambert has crossed the line between sometimes-entertaining professional troll and outright caricature.
That's not to say that the fan who threw the banana should get off the hook. Whether he's a Red Wings fan, a Flyers' fan, or just a fan of chucking fruit, what he did was unconscionable and I hope he gets ten lifetimes worth of torture for it... just like I wish that upon ALL bigots.