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In the Penalty Box

Fighting hockey ignorance: Should more Houston Aeros be suspended in wake of gay slur tweet & retweet?

News_Justin Fontaine_Aeros_hockey player
Justin Fontaine made a mistake. Western Collegiate Hockey Association
News_Justin Fontaine_Aeros_hockey player_tweet
Hasn't he heard? Homosexual slurs are an obvious no-no.  Hockey Wilderness

Twitter has changed the way we view and interact with public figures. It's a glimpse into their private lives and inner thoughts.

And, as we've recently seen, that's not always such a good thing. 

On Sunday, while watching the Grammy Awards, Houston Aeros hockey player Dave McIntyre tweeted his appreciation of the Foo Fighters' performance with David Guetta, Lil Wayne, Chris Brown and Deadmau5. Teammate Justin Fontaine responded, "I disagree, the Foo Faggots were awful. #TerribleShow #BadTaste #6205."

 Does it speak to a greater homophobia in a sport that's still plagued by high-profile racism incidents? 

Sure, the band's performance could have come off as slightly less contrived — but it goes without saying that a homosexual slur is never, ever an appropriate insult. Didn't Fontaine learn that in elementary school?

Though Fontaine quickly deleted the opinion, it remains online in a retweet by fellow player Jon DiSalvatore. 

The Minnesota Wild (the minor league Aeros' National Hockey League parent club) reacted quickly, thanks in part to the NHL's recently-instituted social media policy which holds players accountable for social media communications. 

"Minnesota Sports and Entertainment (MSE) apologizes for the offensive slur that was posted by Justin Fontaine on Twitter last night. Fontaine has been suspended from playing in the next two games for the Houston Aeros," the Wild announced in a statement. 

Fontaine, an Aeros rookie who is second on the team in scoring, returned to social media to ask forgiveness . . .  In 140 characters or less. 

"My apologies to everyone, it was wrong. Twitter rookie and it came out totally wrong. It was a roommate battle, nothing more. #sorry," tweeted Fontaine. He later tweeted, "I still feel awful about it and want to apologize to everyone again. Its a word ill [sic] never use again." 

But beyond the ignorance and immaturity that the use of "faggot"and reuse on the retweet implies, does it speak to a greater homophobia in a sport that's still plagued by high-profile racism incidents? As noted in a play-by-play of the online incident on HockeyWilderness.com, DiSalvatore — the retweeter — is the Aeros' team captain. 

Tell us: Does the two game suspension fit the crime? Should DiSalvatore be punished as well?

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