Gays Fight MSG Over Rangers Epithets

The New York Rangers and owner Madison Square Garden are facing a lavender rebellion. Gay fans, such as Kevin Jennings, are growing more vocal in their fight against homophobic epithets hurled during home games.

[Some] fans recalled that the crowd booed when the name of the New York City Gay Hockey Association, a recreational league, flashed briefly across the jumbo screen.

“It’s a pervasive problem,” said Jennings, who is the executive director of the Gay, Lesbian and Straight Education Network, a nonprofit group that promotes tolerance of gays and lesbians. “I took my godson a few months ago. I won’t take him again. He’s 6. I don’t want him looking around and seeing other men engaging in this behavior and thinking this is the way you behave.”

The battle began late last year and spurred MSG to release a statement decrying anti-gay attitudes. Despite their pledge to boot contentious fans, the arena still allows Larry Goodman to lead chants, which often devolve into “Ho-mo Larry!” Goodman’s well aware of the uproar, but seem undeterred:

That’s how it will always be and that’s what makes it part of the fun in going to a Rangers game in New York City, for God’s sake. It comes to a certain point, it is sort of like, you’ve got to have freedom of speech.

Damn that double-edged constitution!