Sheffield Steelers' official branded "foolish" by own club after homophobia remarks

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

Senior members of Sheffield Council and SIV have made strong representations to the club since Simms made his off-the-cuff remarks at the Steelers V Coventry Blaze game at the Sheffield Arena last Saturday.

Simms later insisted he had been joking when he'd stated it was "disgusting" that two men had embraced each other on the big screen "“kiss cam.”

He apologised for remarks in a video on our website when it became obvious he had angered some supporters and others outside the sport.

Today, four days after the controversial remarks, the club issued a new statement on the incident.

It is critical of their veteran executive - but it is clear that Simms will be back behind the microphone on Sunday, for the visit of Cardiff Devils.

Dave Simms, left, with coach Paul Thompson and media, the day after his remarks

Dave Simms, left, with coach Paul Thompson and media, the day after his remarks

"The match night announcer, David Simms, called the kissing of the two males “disgusting” and asked that they be removed." said the statement.

"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."

Sheffield Arena

Sheffield Arena

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.

"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.

And he will doubtless be more circumspect in the future, in a club role he treasures above anything else.

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.