Sheffield Steelers executive apologises for 'homophobic' comments made about two men embracing on 'kiss-cam'
Sheffield Steelers' executive David Simms has apologised after a match night comment he made about two men embracing on 'kiss-cam' led to him being branded a homophobe.
Simms, rink commentator at last Saturday night's ice hockey game, made an ill-advised joke when two men were filmed on the "kiss-cam" - a live broadcast on the Arena in-house TV, a segment which normally encourages a man and his woman partner to kiss when the spotlight falls on them.
Panning across the crowd, two men kissed each other on screen and Simms declared; "That's disgusting - Security, get rid of them."
Simms insists it was one of thousands of ad lib jokes he has made over 25 years on the Arena microphone - with no ill intent.
But others slammed him on social media, branding him anti-gay.
Simms said his remarks had been taken out of context.
He told The Star: "I am not homophobic, you have known me long enough. I haven't got a bad bone in my body.
"If the comments made upset or offended anybody then ofcourse I apologise completely.
"It was a fun moment on the kiss-cam, we were flicking between different couples, we were trying to trying to win (offer) tickets for the final of the Challenge Cup...and then the comment came out "Oh, Security, remove them
immediately." Which again I apologised for if people take offence.
"Maybe I live in a different world, I can't really see the offence I have caused.
"But if people have been offended...people who know me know I don't like to offend. And I am truly sorry if I did do."
He said he regretted the remark: "You don't want the aftermath that follows.
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"It is uncomfortable, you don't like it and I am sorry it was taken out of the context that it was meant."
Simms said the vast majority of the fans at the Arena understood he'd been joking.
"But in this day and aged you cannot upsrt one person."
Asked if he was going to change his style, he replied: "I perhaps live in a different world to a lot of people.
"Unfortunately the world has moved on to a place that either I haven't realised it's got to or I am comfortable with."
He said other remarks he'd made in the past has also been said in jest "and in previous times would have been treated
"But unfortunately I think there are some people who wake up looking to be offended."
Simms said the Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, and Transgender community had offered him counselling and he implied he would consider it.
Several people have taken to social media to condemn Mr Simms' comments, some of whom have called on the Elite Ice Hockey League (EIHL) to take action.
Tweeting the EIHL, Thomas Brownlee said: "I think you need to take some sort of action against homophobia from David Simms. It's not welcome,"
Craig Forman wrote: "Surely it's now time for @officialEIHL to kick the racist homophobe David Simms out. Please do the decent thing. No place for either today!"