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Reprinted from Hockeytalk.biz.
The virus that is Political Correctness has reared its ugly head in, of all places, the hockey world last week.
Yes, hockey. That region of the sports world almost immune to political rantings. Rarely do we hear from players regarding their political opinions. In most cases, that’s welcome because we simply want to be entertained, transported from our daily lives by the world’s greatest sport.
Other times, it’s interesting to hear what players think, and on rare occasions, we do. For example, some players–such as Andrew Ference–have committed themselves to “green” initiatives which have a political component to go along with its scientific underpinnings. Global Warming’s tenets are entirely debatable, but Ference is well-intended.
It’s simply rare to hear from hockey players on politics, and again, it’s entertainment, so perhaps it’s for the best, even though it is interesting to hear from players on non-hockey topics. In general, it’s all mum on politics when it comes to shinny.
Enter Sean Avery.
No stranger to the spotlight, Avery’s–ahem–vibrant personality has made him the center of attention in a variety of thorny incidents.
Whether waving his stick in goaltender Martin Brodeur’s face like a teenage loony bin escapee or disparaging a young actress with a dismissive “sloppy seconds” remark that made blood run cold among League executives, Avery has never failed to supply a side show of embarrassing proportions. Over the past year or so, Avery toned down his act, most likely because he is now coached by John Tortorella, who doesn’t indulge or suffer fools.
AVERY SHOULD BE APPLAUDED:
In a courageous move that should be applauded, Avery filmed a public service announcement for New Yorkers for Marriage Equality, a campaign organized by Human Rights Campaign, a gay-rights organization.
Other PSA’s include messages from talk show host Larry King, former First Lady Barbara Bush, New York Mayor Mike Bloomberg, former Mayor Ed Koch, and many other luminaries. Avery is in legitimate company.
This bold, taboo-breaking move by Avery takes courage, whether you agree with him or not (I agree with Avery on this one: It’s none of this writer’s business who wants to marry).
The testosterone-driven hockey locker room isn’t the kind of place one would expect such talk. But hey, it’s 2011, not 1961, not 1911. Gay, Lesbian and Transgender people have worked long and hard for acceptance, especially in the years since the famous Stonewall Riots (1969), and Avery sticking his neck out on their behalf is courageous and welcome.
THE OPPOSITION MUST BE SMEARED:
There’s been little public opposition to Avery’s stance, save for some comments in opposition to Avery’s stance from Todd Reynolds, an NHLPA-certified player agent from Uptown Sports Management. Uptown represents NHLers including Jonathan Bernier, Andrew Brunette, Kyle Clifford, Carlo Colaiacovo, Andrew Desjardins, Mike Fisher, Cody McCormick and Chris Neil.
“Very sad to read Sean Avery’s misguided support of same-gender ‘marriage,’ legal or not, it will always be wrong.” wrote Reynolds via Twitter.
“It is not intolerance in any way shape or form,” Reynolds said in an attempt to clarify what he meant in the face of the backlash which followed his comments. “I believe we are all equal…but I believe in the sanctity of marriage between one man and one woman. This is my personal viewpoint. I do not hate anyone.”
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