Canada: Hockey player apologises after tweeting anti-gay slur about NBA player

Illustrated rainbow pride flag on a white background.

A hockey player from the Canadian city of Winnipeg has become embroiled in controversy, as he promptly apologised for tweeting an anti-gay slur, but not before causing offence.

Evander Kane of the Winnipeg Jets, tweeted on Thursday evening to say another play “looks like a fairy going to the rim”, referring to NBA player Chris Bosh, and the NBA Finals between Miami Heat and San Antonio Spurs.

The comment caused offence almost immediately, which Kane responded to, before speaking to Patrick Burke of the You Can Play Project, which aims to stamp out anti-LGBT discrimination in professional sports.

Following the discussion with Burke, Kane tweeted an apology, which read: “Just spoke with Patrick Burke + @YouCanPlayTeam and would like to sincerely apologize for a tweet where I used a homophobic term. I made a mistake and will learn from this.

“I apologize to anyone I offended by my tweet and this will not happen again. #YouCanPlay”

Burke also released a statement, saying he had looked into the use of the word further, consulting other players, and dispelling the idea that Kane did  not write his own apology.

He said: “Since this appears to be ‘controversial’ to some of Twitter, yes Fairy is a gay slur. Fun part is for those doubting me, I’m at the NIKE LGBT Sports Summit so I just took a survey of 30 gay athletes and they agree.

“That said, it isn’t always commonly known and I genuinely believe Evander didn’t know the implications for gay people. I know for a fact Evander wrote his own apology (not always true of these apologies) and wants to make amends for his mistake.”

Back in April, the National Hockey League became the first major professional team sport in the US to announce a formal partnership with You Can Play.

Earlier this week, Burke announced that You Can Play will team up with Major League Soccer, and the MLS Players Union, in order to provide training, education to teams, staff, management and players.