Following a stint in Germany, Simmonds was making his third start with the Liberec White Tigers in the Czech Republic when a fight broke out and players had to be separated. As a member of the visiting team, Simmonds, who is black, was subjected to heckling by the hometown Chomutov fans, who taunted him with chants of "opice" -- the Czech word for "monkey," according to the Associated Press.
Unfortunately, Simmonds is no stranger to the racist hostility of opposing fans. Last September, a fan threw a banana peel onto the ice during a preseason shootout in London, Ontario, USA Today reported at the time.
Simmonds' agent, Eustace King, reacted to the recent incident in a statement to Yahoo! sports blog Puck Daddy:
Whether you're in Europe or North America, the historical issues of our society that have and will continue to plague us will continue to be there. Just because we're sports I don't think that we're exempt from any of these racial overtones or any of these racial issues that we'll face as people. Being in sports is just an extension of society; we just happen to be doing it on the ice or on the field or on the court.
I think fans need to remember that athletes, their workplace is an arena and in front of massive crowds. This type of abuse should not and will not be accepted. And it wouldn't be accepted in any typical workplace. So why should it be accepted in an arena by more than one fan?
To me this is just a verbal assault.
Executives from both Czech teams were equally appalled with the situation, releasing statements on their respective websites, condemning the actions of the rowdy fans. Chomutov sent a letter of apology directly to Simmonds from the teams' director of marketing and general manager.
"We damn this behavior and do not identify with it," the letter reads. "We do not consider as our fans people who participated in racist chanting."