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League says can't verify slur, Simmonds not disciplined

(Reuters) - Philadelphia Flyers forward Wayne Simmonds will not be disciplined over an alleged anti-gay slur directed at a player because the claim could not be substantiated, the National Hockey League said on Tuesday.

New York Rangers forward Sean Avery complained Simmonds had made an anti-gay remark toward him during the first period of their pre-season game on Monday.

Television cameras appeared to show Simmonds making a remark at Avery, but the league said it was unable to verify its nature after conducting a probe.

"Since there are conflicting accounts of what transpired on the ice, we have been unable to substantiate with the necessary degree of certainty what was said and by whom," Colin Campbell, the NHL's senior executive vice president of hockey operations, said in a statement.

"Specifically, Flyers player Wayne Simmonds has expressly denied using the homophobic slur he is alleged to have said.

"Additionally, none of the on-ice officials close to the altercation in question heard any inappropriate slurs uttered by either of the primary antagonists."

The allegation against Simmonds drew the attention of the Gay & Lesbian Alliance Against Defamation (GLAAD).

"He should not only apologize for this anti-gay outburst, but the Philadelphia Flyers and the NHL have a responsibility to take action and educate their fans about why this word is unacceptable," Mike Thompson, GLAAD's acting president, said in a statement.

The slur allegation marks the second controversy involving Simmonds within a week.

A banana was tossed from the stands in the black player's direction during the Flyers' game against the Detroit Red Wings in London, Ontario, last Thursday.

The NHL swiftly denounced the unknown perpetrator as "stupid and ignorant," while the city's mayor apologized on behalf of London residents.

Earlier this year, Los Angeles Lakers guard Kobe Bryant was fined $100,000 by the National Basketball Association for an anti-gay slur directed at a referee.

(Reporting by Frank Pingue; Editing by Ian Ransom)