Sheffield Steelers issue apology after match-night announcer’s offensive remarks

Sheffield Steelers' match-night announcer David Simms, left, conducting a post-match interview with the club's head coach, Paul Thompson, earlier this season. Picture: Dean Woolley.
Sheffield Steelers' match-night announcer David Simms, left, conducting a post-match interview with the club's head coach, Paul Thompson, earlier this season. Picture: Dean Woolley.
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SHEFFIELD STEELERS have made a public apology after their match-night announcer was branded a ‘homophobe’ for comments he made during a home game at the weekend.

People took to social media to blast David Simms after his remarks during Saturday night’s 4-1 defeat to Coventry Blaze, a result which effectively ended the club’s challenge for a sixth Elite League title.

But it was Simms’s comments during the regular match-night ‘kiss-cam’ on the in-house live TV screens that seemed to prompt most of the post-match discussion.

A regular part of the match night entertainment, the ‘kiss-cam’ routine was, as usual, being used to encourage couples in the crowd to kiss each other, with the best kiss seeing the couple rewarded with two free tickets to Sunday afternoon’’s Challenge Cup Final in Wales, which the Steelers subsequently lost 3-2 to the Cardiff Devils.

As the camera moved through the crowd, two men kissed each other on screen prompting Simms to jokingly label it as “disgusting” before going on to make a light-hearted plea for security to escort them from the building.

Numerous people subsequently criticised Simms on Twitter and other social media platforms, with the announcer swiftly apologising several times on the same online outlets to anyone who had been offended by his remarks.

TOUGH NIGHT: Sheffield Steelers' Ben O'Connor takes a tumble during the hosts 4-1 defeat to Coventry Blaze on Saturday. Picture: Dean Woolley.

TOUGH NIGHT: Sheffield Steelers' Ben O'Connor takes a tumble during the hosts 4-1 defeat to Coventry Blaze on Saturday. Picture: Dean Woolley.

“Folks, anyone offended tonight then I apologies,” posted Simms on his personal Twitter account.

“I do think the comments have been taken out of context. No offences meant at all.”

Speaking on Monday morning, Simms added: “I really and truly meant no offence with what I said. I haven’t got a homophobic bone in my body.”

Steelers operations director, Shaun Smith, added to Simms’ earlier apologies via a club statement.

“The club would like to put on record our sincere apology to any fans or members of the LGBT community who were offended by comments made by David Simms during the game on Saturday, March 4,” said Smith.

“In no way did Mr Simms intend what was said in a derogatory or offensive way.

“David Simms has personally apologised to fans on social media, the club, the EIHL and has been in touch with LGBT direct.

“We’d also like to thank everyone who has taken time to write to the club and voice concerns over this incident.”