Sheffeld Steelers official branded "foolish" by own club after homophobia remarks

Sheffield Steelers have bowed to pressure over "homophobic" remarks were made by called match night announcer David Simms - calling him "foolish and thoughtless."

By The Newsroom
Wednesday, 8th March 2017, 11:48 am
Updated Friday, 24th March 2017, 10:10 am
Sheffield Arena
Sheffield Arena

Senior members of Sheffield Council and SIV have made representations to the club since Simms made the remarks at the Steelers V Coventry Blaze game at the Sheffield Arena on Saturday.

Simms said he was joking when he said it was "disgusting" that two men had embraced each other on the big screen "“kiss cam” and immediately apologised for remarks when it became obvious he had angered some supporters and others outside the sport.

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Today the club put out a new statement on the incident.

"The match night announcer, David Simms, called the kissing of the two males “disgusting” and asked that they be removed. This was a most regrettable incident which the Steelers realise has caused tremendous upset to some fans and in particular the LGBT community, many of whom are Steelers fans. The Steelers wish to place on record their sincere apology to anyone who was upset by David’s comments and as an organisation we in no way condone them.

"David Simms says he is very sorry that his comments have upset people, including those in the LGBT community, but that was not his intention."

Steelers Managing Director Tony Smith said ” David’s actions on Saturday night were foolish and thoughtless – I have spoken to him at length and he is very sorry for all the hurt and upset he has caused to the LGBT community.

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"Yesterday I spoke with Neale Gibson of LGBT Sheffield explaining the events which surrounded the incident on Saturday night, Neale has very kindly offered advice which we are taking. I have also been in contact with Stonewall to discuss an LGBT programme the Steelers could participate in. Their policy and motto “acceptance without exception” is one the Steelers have always tried to follow.

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 often been involved in controversial statements and admits his mindset is not always compatible with modern standards.

But he insists he never meant to insult anybody.

Mr Gibson, a Director of SIV, confirmed he had offered "some equality training and advise them to come totally clean and make it clear that they understand the massive insult to the LGBT Community in the City.

He said in an email to The Star: "I'm also a City Councillor and I've had dozens of emails from people asking the Council as the owner of the Arena to intervene."

Initially, he thought the ice hockey club did not "grasp that they need to be completely upfront and honest about what happened.