The Florida Panthers became the National Hockey League’s first franchise to sponsor an LGBT night tonight, but the night was on thin ice when it turned out Big Brother cast member Amanda Zuckerman, notorious for her homophobic and racist comments, was also invited to the event at BBT& Center.
You Can Play Equality Night enticed LGBT hockey fans with a Panthers matchup against the Minnesota Wild, but it also included an odd pregame meet-and-greet with Zuckerman and McCrae Olson from the CBS reality show’s most recent season. Zuckerman, a South Florida native, claims saying things on the show like like “I’ve had at least 15 Puerto Rican showers since I got here” and calling gay housemate Andy “Faggedy Andy” were just her trying to be funny.
“Unfortunately I have a crass sense of humor and that doesn’t excuse some of the things I’ve said because they’ve hurt people,” said Zuckerman, who calls herself a “social-justice warrior. “I’m ashamed they came out of my mouth to be honest. I’m a huge advocate for the gays, parades, purple, black, green, yellow; it doesn’t matter to me. I love people for who they are.”
Purple, green, yellow? Are we martians?
Panthers’ VP Matt Sacco said the team and the NHL Zuckeman’s statements but that she is a supporter of LGBT rights and wanted to be part of the team’s equality night.
Well, we might be suspicious of Zuckerman’s motives, it sounds like players and staff were legit behind the cause. Defenseman Brian Campbell taped a public service announcement in support of the You Can Play Project, which campaigns for an inclusive environment in athletics. “I’m a huge believer in diversity in this world,” said Panthers coach Kevin Dineen. “We are a family that has strong faith and beliefs but we’re very understanding of every situation and that’s our world now… Our world has changed.”
“It’s nice to be able to go about and publicize that everyone is welcome here,” he said. “I support that. But it’s not just about gays and lesbians—everyone is welcome.”
Well, almost everyone.