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Poll: Avery's Suspension

Sean Avery has been suspended six games by the NHL for his comments prior to the Calgary game on Tuesday. He's also agreed to seek an anger management evaluation, the league announced moments ago.

So here's my question for you:

By Tarik El-Bashir  |  December 5, 2008; 10:56 AM ET
 
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Comments

Yes. Talking about somebody girlfriend or wife is not cool, especially when you gather a bunch of media people right before you do it. There's a culture of respect in hockey (off ice), and he's a stain. I'm pissed if I'm Mike Modano.

Posted by: _jordan | December 5, 2008 11:24 AM | Report abuse

The NHL blundered this one. They should've contacted the Stars and made sure they handled it in house. Sean Avery's quotes probably wouldn't hit the states and ESPN could have refocused on hammering Charlie Weis and bending over for Romo.

Posted by: WaPoLiveFan16 | December 5, 2008 11:25 AM | Report abuse

It would not have been an issue if he just said it on the ice....He would have gotten his butt whipped, but he would not have been suspended.

Posted by: Blahblahblah73 | December 5, 2008 11:31 AM | Report abuse

I think it is justified. Comments like that make the NHL and the team look bad. If it were this once, thrash his butt on the ice and be done with it, but this guy is a repeat offender who just doesn't freakin' learn. If he'd just gotten carried away ... enh. But no. He PLANNED that, and it was obvious and confirmed by the rest of the team. He was deliberately being a jerk.

In all honesty, I wouldn't be surprised to see a couple of teams' enforcers drop 'em with Sean when he comes back, just because he deserves to have his butt kicked for that.

Posted by: kittypawz | December 5, 2008 11:36 AM | Report abuse

Talking about somebody girlfriend or wife is not cool, especially when you gather a bunch of media people right before you do it.

Posted by: _jordan | December 5, 2008 11:24 AM
-------------------------------------------
Actually, he was talking about Phaneuf, Komisarek, Stoll, et al.

Gary Bettman, moron of the year.

Posted by: Section117 | December 5, 2008 11:38 AM | Report abuse

I said it before here and I will say it again: the NHL does NOT need a player like Sean Avery. Go play in the NBA or NFL... the NHL did the right thing to protect the image and qualities of the League. If you don't think this guy is a clown just listen to the interviews with his teammates about it - they are sick of him and want nothing to do with him. If you want a "colorful" player - pick Alex Ovechkin, who does it the right way. If you want a selfish, me guy who wants his 15 minutes - pick Sean Avery.

Posted by: Roose | December 5, 2008 11:38 AM | Report abuse

In all honesty, I wouldn't be surprised to see a couple of teams' enforcers drop 'em with Sean when he comes back, just because he deserves to have his butt kicked for that.

That was his intention in the first place. To get Dion to take a stupid penalty.

Posted by: Blahblahblah73 | December 5, 2008 11:39 AM | Report abuse

who cares if he planned it? he said it, whatever. No one would have even cared or known he said it if it wasn't blown out of proportion. Avery's a big boy and should have had to face Dion Phaneuf on the ice after saying it.

Posted by: _stevo | December 5, 2008 11:39 AM | Report abuse

Say what you will about Avery, but that whole episode got front page coverage on yahoo and other outlets.

That type of hockey exposure is usually reserved for Bertuzzi type incidents...

I prefer this over Palin puck drops.

Posted by: stormblue | December 5, 2008 11:40 AM | Report abuse

Anyone disagreeing with Avery's suspension, is just approving the continued decline of this world. Obviously there is no such thing as good taste & class anymore, not to mention good morals.

Posted by: sidehillman | December 5, 2008 11:41 AM | Report abuse

Oh and, if I was his current girlfriend (if he's got one) I'd've bounced his tail out the door for that remark. You say it about one girl and you'll say it about me later. I don't need anyone who'd say something like that about any girl on national television in my life.

Posted by: kittypawz | December 5, 2008 11:41 AM | Report abuse

This shouldn't be an issue. Its freedom of speech. He didn't bash his team or the game. He made a joke, it was quite funny. Let the guy talk, his antics bring more attention to the game, whether its positive or negative its attention and gets people talking.

He's not out there doing drugs or walking around with a gun like guys that play other sports. They could have marketed the hell out of this guy and isntead they are banishing him. If anything were to be done, fine him. Speaking his mind is not worthy of suspension, when he didnt curse, refer to the game or team.

What he did earlier in the year in Boston should have warranted a suspension but not this.

Posted by: ThePat | December 5, 2008 11:42 AM | Report abuse

The NHL should have made sure that Dallas handled this issue. Bettman and the NHL have NO CLUE how to handle a league and have made a series of idiotic decisions throughout their tenure. The best thing for the league is to have the current commissioner and his staff step down. Avery is an idiot, but that is something that Dallas needs to handle....not the league.

Posted by: joshu1 | December 5, 2008 11:42 AM | Report abuse

The sad part is it isn't over. The next time Cal and Dal meet it will be played out all over again.

Posted by: Blahblahblah73 | December 5, 2008 11:43 AM | Report abuse

Posted by: Section117 | December 5, 2008 11:44 AM | Report abuse

oh get off your high horse with the freakin classless talk. He is out there to get under people's skin, he does it well, it is his job. By saying I comtribute to the downfall of America by saying he shouldnt have been suspended is moronic

Posted by: _stevo | December 5, 2008 11:44 AM | Report abuse

This whole thing is idiocy. Despite his reputation, Avery has NEVER been suspended-- so this is a big suspension for what's technically a first time offender for an off-ice incident (that didn't involve guns, drugs, or arrests!). He's a master of walking the line.

This reeks of the league being overjoyed at an excuse to finally "get him back" for knowing the rulebook better than the league does (like his masterful move against Broduer last playoffs-- you know Avery read the rulebook front and back and was saving that move up for the playoffs).

Headshots and cheapshots that can end careers go unpunished, and stupid comments that the Stars would have handled and ended no ones' career but Avery's own get 6 games? This highlights the leagues inability to tackle issues that matter and their focus in the micro issues that are big on bark, but low on bite.

Posted by: TheGJ | December 5, 2008 11:44 AM | Report abuse

That was his intention in the first place. To get Dion to take a stupid penalty.

Posted by: Blahblahblah73 | December 5, 2008 11:39 AM

And that is why the suspension is appropriate. Keep that kind of crap on the ice. Off-ice taunting is prickish, unprofessional, and in poor taste. The game is the game, but outside the game, let's have a little class please.

Posted by: kittypawz | December 5, 2008 11:45 AM | Report abuse

Anyone disagreeing with Avery's suspension, is just approving the continued decline of this world. Obviously there is no such thing as good taste & class anymore, not to mention good morals.

Posted by: sidehillman | December 5, 2008 11:41 AM
-------------------------------------------
I disagree with it because it's a case of priorities. I said it the other day but will sum it up this way: if Gary Bettman spent half as much time and was half as quick on concussions and other hits that produce long-term injuries as he was on this issue, the league wouldn't be the laughingstock of pro sports.

But maybe I'm approving a continued decline of this world.

Posted by: Section117 | December 5, 2008 11:47 AM | Report abuse

Section 117, perfect point with those video clips. He is a moron for making the comments, but in all honesty did they hurt anyone???????????? I mean Elisha Cuthbert does go from one hockey player to another so he was pointing out facts.

Posted by: ThePat | December 5, 2008 11:47 AM | Report abuse

Taking Avery's sloppy seconds is not cool.

Any NHL player that dates Avery's ex's should be suspended in my opinion.

Posted by: SA-Town | December 5, 2008 11:48 AM | Report abuse

Despite his reputation, Avery has NEVER been suspended

Actually the Kings suspended him near the end of the '06-'07 year.

Posted by: Section117 | December 5, 2008 11:49 AM | Report abuse

kitty

No offense but that is crap. If he had said it on the ice, Dion took a penalty, and Dallas had scored, then he did his job. I have talked to ex-NHLs, and former Caps have said much about wives, girlfriends, and etc..
If it takes someone off there game, so be it.

Posted by: Blahblahblah73 | December 5, 2008 11:50 AM | Report abuse

You can suspend him one game or six games or twenty games, but unless you wire his mouth shut, it's only a matter of time till he says something else that's equally stupid.

Posted by: tess2201 | December 5, 2008 11:54 AM | Report abuse

The guy appears to be a cancer on his own team. He said something stupid and nasty and planned it ahead of time. No internal filter. My guess is that he won't be on the ice for Dallas again, therefore the next Calgary/Dallas game should be a non-issue.

Posted by: _Mark | December 5, 2008 11:54 AM | Report abuse

For some more context, Avery's WORDS were worse than:

Ryan Hollweg (suspended 2 games for receiving a 3rd boarding major in half a season, and 3 more games for a 4th)

Mike Peca (5 games for abuse of officials)

Tom Kostopoulos (3 games for boarding Mike van Ryn)

2 of the examples I've pointed out have resulted in those players being on LTIR since those incidents. And yet Sean Avery gets the longest suspension of the year to date.

Way to go Gary.

Posted by: Section117 | December 5, 2008 11:55 AM | Report abuse

Even speech on the ice can get you in trouble. Wasn't Simon suspended for his use of a derogatory term that he called another player? Getting old and can't remember specifics.

Posted by: _Mark | December 5, 2008 11:59 AM | Report abuse

Ovie pass to Backstrom at the end did a couple things:
1.) I believe it kept Backstrom's point streak alive - unselfish!
2.) Not that he needs any more respect- but did you see the reaction from the bench! Captain, my captain - those guys will run throw walls for Ovie.
3.) It's a nice little nudge at Malkin who selfishly kept the puck the other night and scored himself instead of passing it to a teammate who- if I remember correctly- would have had his hat-trick goal with the empty netter. Ovie proved he is light-years ahead of Mal-Shrek in terms of teamplay and maturity. If the MVP award comes down to those two - remember those 2 very different approaches to the same play in July.

Posted by: lylewimbledon | December 5, 2008 11:59 AM | Report abuse

http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2008/12/05/AR2008120500466.html?hpid=moreheadlines
the headline of this article is probably not good for hockey
that said, i wouldn't have thought being a jaca** was a suspend-able offense

Posted by: honed | December 5, 2008 12:05 PM | Report abuse

Even speech on the ice can get you in trouble. Wasn't Simon suspended for his use of a derogatory term that he called another player? Getting old and can't remember specifics.
-----------------------------------

He called Mike Grier the N word

Posted by: The_Spear | December 5, 2008 12:05 PM | Report abuse

um, please pardon my language
i thought i had deleted that comment before posting lol

Posted by: honed | December 5, 2008 12:07 PM | Report abuse

No offense but that is crap. If he had said it on the ice, Dion took a penalty, and Dallas had scored, then he did his job. I have talked to ex-NHLs, and former Caps have said much about wives, girlfriends, and etc..
If it takes someone off there game, so be it.

Posted by: Blahblahblah73 | December 5, 2008 11:50 AM

None taken, but that doesn't make it right. We aren't animals, and it benefits no one and hurts people to make comments like that in public. I tend to agree that we have become selfish, classless, and tasteless as a society, going for the cheap scandal, and we need to be better people than that. If you want respect, you behave like a gentleman off the ice. On the ice, it's part of the game. Off the ice, it's tasteless and low. I think we're going to agree to disagree on this one. :)

One thing I do suggest, though - cut the words "no offense, but" out of your vocabulary. You don't need them. If you truly do not mean to offend, and you think you will, find another way to say it. Sometimes offending is appropriate and necessary, and then, just say it. It has more effect that way. But "no offense, but" comes off as a lame excuse, read: "I'm going to be a jerk now but I don't want to be called on it."

For those saying it's a matter of priorities, agreed, but does that mean it's a good idea to let it go? No.

Posted by: kittypawz | December 5, 2008 12:07 PM | Report abuse

Mark

yes, Simon has been on both sides of stupid remarks. If you ask me (and no one is) this all goes back to the instigator rule. The players should aloud to police themselves.

Posted by: Blahblahblah73 | December 5, 2008 12:10 PM | Report abuse

Was it justified based on that one incident? No. Was it justified based on previous incidents this year? no.

But from the NHL's perspective, if Avery's intended reaction was to get under Neon Dion's skin, then there was no need to do it infront of the media. On ice comments would have sufficed.

What this shows is Avery's calculated decision to say it to the media, probably with the hope of still getting under Dion's skin, but being held out of the game to avoid the punishment. IMO, NHL should have let him play that game, get destroyed, then suspend him.

If you add up all his antics over the years, I'd say 6 games is enough. Heck, I'd have given him 2-3 games just for his comments re: Collin Campbell. The NHL probably felt this was a bit of a makeup, and saw his comments as something being said that can in NO way bring positive publicity to the league.

6 games though. meh. not like the Stars will miss him. Heck, it might do more for Dallas with him out of the lineup.

And finally, we still don't know what "sloppy seconds" he was referring to. We assume he's talking about a few Blondes...but we don't really know ;-)

Posted by: FFSEnough | December 5, 2008 12:10 PM | Report abuse

Six games is a small problem. The bigger problem is what is Dallas management/ownership going to do with a cancer/player that is unwelcomed in their locker room and has 3 1/2 years left on his contract. Hull's tail is caught in the ringer and has to creative to get Avery shipped out on a one way ticket. Maybe Philly would take him and they don't have room in their cap.

Posted by: puckman | December 5, 2008 12:12 PM | Report abuse

The NHL has suspended him for 6 games...I have a feeling his days in the NHL are numbered.

Mr. Avery, your 15 minutes are up!

Posted by: Blueline | December 5, 2008 12:12 PM | Report abuse

And, if I recall correctly, Berube also got suspended for calling a black player (can't remember who) a monkey. What Avery said was stupid, but maybe deserved a couple of games, if that. It should have been left up to the team itself to deal with and to other players when they played Dallas, to settle with him. He's a joke anyway. He's got limited shelf life in the NHL and will quickly be forgotten once he's gone. Hmm...maybe he can go play in Moscow. :)

Posted by: Puckdawg69 | December 5, 2008 12:13 PM | Report abuse

Re: Ovie as Captain

I can't see Bruce taking the captaincy away from Clark. That's not how Bruce operates. I just wish Clark would see the writing on the wall and offer the 'C' to Ovie. And who knows, maybe he has done that and Ovie refused it.

Posted by: tess2201 | December 5, 2008 12:14 PM | Report abuse

1) As the weenie announcers mentioned the other night on Versus, this is common place in the NHL every night (another reason the players should all be wired so we could listen!) http://newfaux.blogspot.com/2008/09/uncensored-hockey.html
2) The difference is the comment was public, and in our opinion it was from Sean Avery. His past definitely played a role in this suspension. Its not like he was pulling a Reggie Dunlap and put a bounty on Dion Pheneuf's head.
3) It was dumb trash talk and should have been left at that. Gary Bettman and the NHL is so image conscious that they felt the need to quash this. A mistake in our opinion. Don't go out of your way to promote it like the NBA does, but certainly don't go the other way and restrain it either.


4) What he said was factually true, so what is up with this, how can the league even get involved, he's done way worse before. UNBELIEVABLE, maybe the league should do something useful by getting rid of the elbows to the head, never mind this nonsense. Bottom line opinion on this is Who cares what he said? You should be able to say whatever the hell you want about your ex-girlfriend and another player. He wasn't threatening, graphic or really anything but Avery being Avery. Lets move on.

Posted by: fauxrumors | December 5, 2008 12:14 PM | Report abuse

Avery's suspension for 6 games is bizarre. THey still haven't told anyone what he said that got him in trouble. It wasn't the sloppy comments; it was what he said before the game in Calgary, right? Well, what did he say? Was it worse for hockey than his treatment of Brodeur in the playoffs last years? That's where the suspension should have occurred. Whatever he says to the media, well, freedom of speech, right? Now, if he was on the ice making racial epithets toward Iginla, thats different. Perhaps the NHL isn't telling anyone what he said because they dont want the entire sports media picking up the story and running with a negative portrayal of the NHL because of an idiot like Avery.

Its really too bad, because he's a pretty good hockey player. If he concentrated on being a goal scorer and checker rather than mouth running pest, he'd do fine.

THis is a scenario where the players should be policing themselves. Avery should be fighting every teams enforcer. 2 weeks of ass kicking might make a difference. If not, 4 weeks is sure to. Laraque, Boogard, Brashear, and the like should all get together on a conference call and stand up for their sport. Too organized? You just wait until I'm king of the world...

Posted by: oo7 | December 5, 2008 12:16 PM | Report abuse

Its not like he was pulling a Reggie Dunlap and put a bounty on Dion Pheneuf's head.
----------------------------------------

It's to bad Avery did not put a bounty on his head. Would have been a lot more intresting.

Posted by: The_Spear | December 5, 2008 12:17 PM | Report abuse

What Hal McRae did was way worse then what Avery did.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=oSvAPL8CAe8

Posted by: SA-Town | December 5, 2008 12:18 PM | Report abuse

oo7 - tru dat

Posted by: Blahblahblah73 | December 5, 2008 12:20 PM | Report abuse

lylewimbledon,

Good post on that Ovie pass for the empty-netter. I told my son the same thing. It just shows what a class act and unselfish player Ovie is.

Posted by: Puckdawg69 | December 5, 2008 12:20 PM | Report abuse

this isnt a sign of the apocalypse or the decline of human civilization. i hear much worse thrown around, this just happened to be on camera. whatever. let them duke it out. phaneuf isnt shy about dropping the gloves. let them settle it on ice so we can enjoy the fight, not so we have to keep hearing about it (or his shady apology)

Posted by: ngraham1 | December 5, 2008 12:23 PM | Report abuse

faux-

What I find more fascinating about this situation is the number of people who now view the term he used as more of a joke, than a demeaning remark about somebody. He used it to refer to specific people, and that's the problem.

By allowing a player to get away with public comments to the MEDIA like that IS promoting it. When you do nothing about it, you are accepting the behavior. Independent of us finding it funny or not, he has every right to say that on the ice, but if they NHL does not want that to be an outward facing arm of the league, they have every right to act the way they did.

Deserving of 6? meh. Should they be doing more with other on-ice incidents? sure. Left it to the stars? Doesn't matter, something was going to be done. But all that together doesn't mean they should have ignored this. Avery gave them a softball and the hit him out of the park.

Posted by: FFSEnough | December 5, 2008 12:24 PM | Report abuse

I think Avery is good for the league.

Villans-good vs evil-always fill the stands and make for better back-stories. What he said was degrading and should have been put more delicately and a disgrace to the Stars franchise - but that's what you get when you sign a cancer to your team. 6 games seems a little harsh.

Posted by: lylewimbledon | December 5, 2008 12:24 PM | Report abuse

kitty

You are correct about the no offense comment.

Posted by: Blahblahblah73 | December 5, 2008 12:26 PM | Report abuse

1) We'd of been OK with a fine, but a LONG suspension(Longer than players who actualy caused injury to other players) is inane.
2) The NHL INCREASED the level of interest in this instance. This would have been a one day story otherwise. Now its going to be talked about for weeks/months.

Posted by: fauxrumors | December 5, 2008 12:31 PM | Report abuse

This is ridiculous. To get suspended for pointing out that his former girlfriend is the NHL's "town bicycle," when in fact that is PRECISELY what she is, is just plain wrong.

Hey, if my girlfriend runs around on me, I will say whatever about her I want. Last time I checked we were supposed to have freedom of speech here in the United States.

Posted by: FergusonFoont | December 5, 2008 12:31 PM | Report abuse

007

What he got suspended for is the sloppy comments (plus what ever he got angry about during the meeting that caused him to accept counseling). That is what he got suspended for. The length is probably a culmination of events over the last few years.

I might remind people that the first amendment does allow for Avery to SAY whatever he wants, but it in NO way protects him from the backlash that follows. The NHL taking action and suspending him are protected by the first amendment just as equally as his comments are a "freedom of speech." The first amendment only protects you against punishment by the Government, not from losing your job because you pissed off your boss with your words.

Posted by: FFSEnough | December 5, 2008 12:32 PM | Report abuse

I guess I am just showing my age. I can remember when the world was not as nasty----at least out loud.

Also, I totally agree that the NHl & Betteman have no clue re: what they are doing.

Posted by: sidehillman | December 5, 2008 12:37 PM | Report abuse

Ferguson

With the first amendment, you are only protected in saying, not protected from the "backlash" provided the backlash is lawful. If you are an outward facing image of an organization, and you use language deemed offensive by a group of people, you can damn well be sure that organization will act to let the rest of the public know that your comments do not reflect their views.

This incident is akin to other Imus and Greaseman incedents. Their freedom of speech was in no way violated, they were just barred from using their company's property to project speech that the company did not agree with.

Posted by: FFSEnough | December 5, 2008 12:37 PM | Report abuse

Sean Avery is the Dennis Rodman of the NHL and I got no problems with that. He should have been disciplined for using the media to vent his personal vendetta, but come on 6 games!? That seems excessive, but not surprising since Bettman has it out for him. He should get no more than 3 games and let the players handle it on the ice.

Posted by: Versus | December 5, 2008 12:46 PM | Report abuse

"Actually, he was talking about Phaneuf, Komisarek, Stoll, et al."

I'm thinking Cuthbert is a little affected personally too. What you said is simply not true.

Posted by: rh71 | December 5, 2008 1:02 PM | Report abuse

Regardless of whether he intended to insult his ex or her current boyfriend, Avery’s comments were derogatory to women and harmful to the NHL. Professional athletes are paid a lot of money not only to play their game, but to be ambassadors for their sport and role models for their fans - many of whom are impressionable kids.

The NHL is aware of the influence its stars has on children. The NHL is also aware that a significant portion of its fan base is women. Additionally, women make the majority of the spending decisions in most families. Women not only decide to spend money on jerseys, hats and other fan gear for themselves, but also for their children and the men in their lives. Women make up most of the household budgets (i.e. decide whether a family can afford tickets to hockey games). The NHL correctly recognizes that it should treat women with respect.

Women also play an extremely large role in raising children. Hockey Moms chauffeur their kids - boys and girls - to practices and games. Hockey moms hear the conversations these children have in the back seats of their mini-van. How many hockey moms or hockey dads would be thrilled to hear their seven or nine year olds referring to their mothers, sisters, classmates or teammates in the terms Mr. Avery deems appropriate? Is it impossible to conclude that some of these hockey moms and hockey dads may just decide that if this is the way hockey players conduct themselves then their children will not play hockey, will not attend professional hockey games, and will not wear hockey gear or put posters of hockey players in their rooms?

I’ve read many commentaries arguing that Mr. Avery should not be suspended because all he did was speak his mind. However, he chose to speak his mind inside an NHL arena in front of reporters who were present for the specific purposes of interviewing NHL players. He was, in fact, on the job when he made his statements, and he was, in fact, an ambassador for the NHL. It does not matter what his reason for making the statements was - he made them and they were inappropriate and his conduct fell below the standards of the professional organization to which he belongs.

If anyone of you believe that the NHL should not concern itself with whether a player’s statements disgust and alienate a significant portion of its fan base, you are very naive. The NHL is a business and a business cannot succeed without revenues. The NHL’s revenues depend on its fans. I do not recall so many people coming to the defense of Michael Vick when his off-field conduct clearly crossed the line of the expectations the NFL had for its star players.

Posted by: runchris | December 5, 2008 1:23 PM | Report abuse

runchris

Well said.

Posted by: sidehillman | December 5, 2008 1:26 PM | Report abuse

Wasn't Simon suspended for his use of a derogatory term that he called another player? Getting old and can't remember specifics.

Posted by: _Mark | December 5, 2008 11:59 AM
-------------------------------------------
Yep, and was suspended three games. So in terms of precedent, Bettman fails that much harder.

Posted by: Section117 | December 5, 2008 1:41 PM | Report abuse

If Avery were in the NBA he being playing tonight. If he were in the NFL he would be playing tonight. If he played MLB he would be available for the next game. His comments while derogatory were just that comments. We are Hockey players not pansies. Determental to hockey - HA - Hockey got more coverage and exposure because he did say something. Hockey is the toughest sport to play period and hockey players have never been know for a clean mouth. Maybe Bettman (who always reminds me of the police chief in "Beverly Hills Cop Two") should remember that he no longer works for the NBA.

Posted by: psugolf | December 5, 2008 1:44 PM | Report abuse

The discussion about the First Amendment is an interesting one because with rules like the one used here, the league is making an arbitrary judgement regarding what makes it look good or bad.

The posters above are correct that the NHL can regulate the words coming out of its players mouths to a certain extent. However, certainly each league draws its own line as to what should be silenced.

I tend to give more benefit of the doubt to employees, and so generally I'd like less restriction on what players can do. It's frustrating when coaches in certain leagues are fined for politely criticizing a referee's performance, and while it cool to see the fashions that have come out of it, I disagreed with the NBA's dress code for players arriving at the arena. It's quite a slippery slope, and leagues can't ban everything that makes them look at all bad (if so, think of how fast the mullet would be against the rules in hockey).

In my mind, there are certain types of speech that shouldn't be tolerated (hate speech, racial epithets, death threats, etc.) but I don't think he came close to that. Vulgarity does not equal a punishable offense.

He said an unfortunate thing, but it doesn't come close to the other examples (Howard Stern et al) listed above.

Posted by: SilentAlarm | December 5, 2008 1:46 PM | Report abuse

Yes, but only because he was talking about Elisha Cuthbert!

Posted by: iishoagie07 | December 5, 2008 1:53 PM | Report abuse

I am no Avery-apologist, but 6 games for a joke made in poor taste?

That's ridiculous. The league should have slapped him with 1 or 2 games at most, and then let the Stars handle it internally.

Anyway, I'd be surprised if Avery plays again in the NHL any time soon, he practically suspended himself with his bizarre act.

Clearly he doesn't have a future in stand-up comedy either

Posted by: dml1077 | December 5, 2008 1:54 PM | Report abuse

"Actually, he was talking about Phaneuf, Komisarek, Stoll, et al."

I'm thinking Cuthbert is a little affected personally too. What you said is simply not true.

Posted by: rh71 | December 5, 2008 1:02 PM
-------------------------------------------
I'll restate; do you think what he said what flat out purposely intended to hurt her, or to get under Phaneuf's skin?

Posted by: Section117 | December 5, 2008 1:58 PM | Report abuse

They should have fined him without a suspension. Made him donate to the charity of #3's choice.

Posted by: Steve_R | December 5, 2008 2:02 PM | Report abuse

To quote the numerous PD comments, he should be suspended for the sunglasses he wore yesterday, at the very least.

Posted by: Section117 | December 5, 2008 2:03 PM | Report abuse

Section117 - His intentions are irrelevant. Do you think Buress intended to shoot himself in the leg? Would his conduct be acceptable to you if he "didn't intend" to shot himself? Reckless and harmful behavior should not be excused because the consequences were "unintended".

Posted by: runchris | December 5, 2008 2:13 PM | Report abuse

This is such a non-issue. This guy is paid to be an arse - the NHL encourages his type of behavior and then he gets suspended for using the term "sloppy seconds." This is worse than two teams brawling in front of children? Worse than high sticking someone in the face or boarding them? Bettman and Hicks and Hull need some serious perspective. Where are the adults?

Posted by: mjwies11 | December 5, 2008 2:18 PM | Report abuse

This suspension is a joke.

The comment was in poor taste but it didn't warrant six games off the ice.

The NHL has bigger things to be concerned about. For example, not being able to see my hockey team play on Tuesday nights because of the Versus blockade.

Deal with that before Avery, please.

Posted by: Cerealman | December 5, 2008 2:19 PM | Report abuse

@Section117 re: Do you think what he said what flat out purposely intended to hurt her, or to get under Phaneuf's skin?

Doesn't matter. If he wanted to get under Phaneuf's skin, he should've done it on the ice, not in a public forum. In a public forum, his words affect the image of the NHL. I would say the same thing if anybody on the Capitals said something like that. It was utterly classless, and it is Sean Avery's responsibility to censor himself. Obviously, he fails at this.

Do I think six games is a bit excessive? Possibly. I think they're hoping it blows over before someone turns him into a wet meaty splat on the ice for it, personally.

For the record: has anyone else noticed that the majority of those who think it was funny are men, and the majority of those who think it was highly insulting are women? Point of view, boys and girls. Point Of. View.

Posted by: irockthered | December 5, 2008 2:22 PM | Report abuse

I think it is time for some people to take the pedestal from underneath some of their sports heroes. They all have blemishes.

Can someone post a link to where Avery actually mentioned anyone in particular? In the clip I saw he didn't mention any names. It seems to me, this whole issue is the media making a mountain out of a mole hill and sustained by a lot of hypocrisy.

What is next? Is someone here going to tell me we live in the Garden of Eden and that Avery's remark is the first sin?

Posted by: opita | December 5, 2008 2:23 PM | Report abuse

I think a suspension was justified, but 6 games seems a bit heavy.

Posted by: freakinandpeakin | December 5, 2008 2:24 PM | Report abuse

This issue reflects how American society over (or incorrectly) reacts to most issues. If society does not like something, then it is society’s responsibility to change it. If we do not like a product (for any reason) then we stop purchasing that product until it is changed or a new one comes along. If a company realizes this they will change it and give the people what they want. However, it is not the government’s responsibility to make the company change the product.

I agree that he should not have made those comments to the press. The issue is the Buttman did not need to settle the issue. Dallas or the NHL players should have been allowed to settle it themselves. By their own remarks, their punishment might have been even worse.

Posted by: Blahblahblah73 | December 5, 2008 2:36 PM | Report abuse

@runchris,

There's two different ways I'll respond to this, and the first is when comparing this to the "Plaxident" it's a completely different circumstance. Anyone who comparies Avery to Burress and Vick does it at their risk, because you're doing a couple of different but dangerous things. Number one and perhaps most importantly, Avery didn't do anything illegal. He did something that any athlete has done before, he just executed it with poor taste. Second, if you're going to lump in what (like it or not) amounts to poorly done smack talk with guys like Burress and Vick, go right ahead, but I'd hope you'd root for universal condemnation on them all. Fred Smoot (who was at last night's Caps game, BTW) might be a nice guy and a talented athlete, that doesn't mean I want to be on a boat with him, and I sure hope you'd express the same sort of moral outrage with him and EVERY other athlete that you would in this case.

As to my other point, intentions sure are relevant, based on the White example. In case you aren't familiar with it, Ian White, who plays for Toronto, got into a couple of tussles with Iyla Kovalchuk a couple of weeks ago during a game, and after the game said in part, "he'll get what's coming to him." A stated intention of actions for an upcoming game, yes? So where's White's 6 game suspension?

I'm not defending the remarks, but again when it comes to this particular suspension, both in precedent and in context of other disciplinary punishment, it is simply an embarrassment to the league, perhaps more than Avery's behavior it and of itself.

Posted by: Section117 | December 5, 2008 2:40 PM | Report abuse

I sure hope you'd express the same sort of moral outrage with him and EVERY other athlete that you would based on your apparent stance.

fixed.

Posted by: Section117 | December 5, 2008 2:41 PM | Report abuse

I think a suspension was justified, but 6 games seems a bit heavy.

Posted by: freakinandpeakin | December 5, 2008 2:24 PM
-------------------------------------------
To add onto this real quick, based on the league's suspension lengths this season, he could come back, someone could either check him into the boards or hit him with an elbow away from the puck give him a concussion (or worse), and that person could be potentially be suspended for LESS time than Avery was for this.

That, my friends, is the overlooked outrage.

Posted by: Section117 | December 5, 2008 2:45 PM | Report abuse

Whew, all this brain use makes me sleepy.

Posted by: Section117 | December 5, 2008 2:46 PM | Report abuse

While saying comments about a wife, girlfriend, ex-girlfriend, whatever...is not cool, it's not the NHL's place to sanction a player for that reason.

Personally, I thought it was hilarious.

Posted by: TheOriginalEgon | December 5, 2008 2:48 PM | Report abuse

Avery has to do something since its obvious he is not very good at HOCKEY.

Now Avery will have a lot more time to spend working on his non existant game.

Posted by: A-Contrario | December 5, 2008 2:57 PM | Report abuse

Section117

"Plaxident" - very clever!

You're correct that Vick's conduct was illegal and much more agregious and not the best analogy. Burress' behavior may be proven to be illegal (after he's been charged, tried and convicted of course). However, even if those activites were not illegal, the NFL still has the right to take disciplinary action. The point I was trying to make is that the league does have the right to dictate to the players how they should behave, even with respect to speech. The players choose to enjoy the benefits of being in the league, and in exchange, they have to live by the league's rules, even if the rules are more restrictive than the rights granted by the Constitution. If Avery wants free speech, he can quit the league, stand on the corner and spout whatever drivel he wants. I suspect, however, that if he wasn't in the league, no one would listen.

Posted by: runchris | December 5, 2008 3:29 PM | Report abuse

Stupid to suspend a guy for being a jerk, I'm sure there are worse things said then his comments... The simple solution is that GMs don't learn and keep signing him...

Posted by: capscla55 | December 5, 2008 3:30 PM | Report abuse

All I have to say is: 5th Amendment.

The guy, like all of us here, can say whatever he wants. Me, I found the whole thing funny. He just called out the reality of the ongoing situation. If you don't want to be called out like that, don't put yourself in those positions.

But since this country is so cravenly PC, nearly anything one says will upset someone. So you can't win.

Posted by: eroks | December 5, 2008 3:36 PM | Report abuse

...correction, I meant the FIRST Amendment.

It's been a long week, folks! :O)

Posted by: eroks | December 5, 2008 3:42 PM | Report abuse

Avery's in a league that not a lot of people listen to now, but I digress.

Levity aside, again I go back to both the White incident:

Where's his suspension for making an off-ice statement which could be conceived as an overt threat on a player?

And if it's because Avery used offensive language, then he's still serving a suspension that's twice as long as Chris Simon, who did a similar thing to Mike Grier.

One more thing: Bettman seemed to imply that if he did it on-ice, it wouldn't be an issue. So for those YES voters, do you agree?

Posted by: Section117 | December 5, 2008 3:57 PM | Report abuse

In any other work environment, Avery's comments would have been considered sexual harrassment and he would have faced disciplinary action and maybe fired. So, he should take his six games and like it.

Posted by: aybee27 | December 5, 2008 4:38 PM | Report abuse

Some other disciplinary action from Avery's "work environment."

http://thetwolinepass.com/2008/12/things-that-werent-as-hurtful-as-sean-averys-words/

Universal context, people.

Posted by: Section117 | December 5, 2008 4:54 PM | Report abuse

This is the same NHL that is promoting the 30th anniversay of Slapshot?!?!?!

Hey, Hanrahan!!!

Double standard Gary. Double standard.

Posted by: joecct77 | December 5, 2008 4:56 PM | Report abuse

I say No, simply because the League's front office completely mis-measured the scope it needed to employ in this case. This Kukla's Korner post sums up my thoughts: http://www.kuklaskorner.com/index.php/A2Y/comments/really_for_sloppy_seconds/

Posted by: cityspirit | December 5, 2008 5:01 PM | Report abuse

I'm rather disgusted by the posters who found Avery's comments funny. It was a misogynist statement, and if the NHL were not a basically all-male institution it would have been clear sexual harassment.

As for comparing what he said before cameras to what he might have said on-ice: that's not a level comparison. By his statement, he involved another party who is not part of the NHL and was not present to defend herself. That's why it had to be dealt with.

The comparison to in-game attacks isn't valid, either -- so many attacks happen that get allowed by referees that there is no standard by which to judge. Whereas an attack on women is very clearly and obviously an attack on women, even if it's verbal.

Posted by: jen-s | December 5, 2008 5:25 PM | Report abuse

The suspension is a joke, and you know who to blame? The commissioner of the NFL thats who! With all his meddling around with players and what costitutes "detrimental to the game", he felt the need to keep up with the Jones' and suspend this idiot. What should have happened is that for the next 6 games whoever the tough guy is on each team should come out in the beginning of the game and beat the hell out of him if they can. If they can't, then let him talk. If he had used the C--- word, or a racial profanity, or any profanity at all for that matter then perhaps a one or two game suspension. This guy has never been suspended. how many games did Chris Simon get for using the N----- word the first time? I think it was 2 games. How many do you get for abusing an official or continued personal fouls or major misconducts? one? two? three? and this guy gets 6 for saying other players were getting sloppy seconds? ridiculous. If somebody said that about me, first I would make a joke about the size of his little wee wee, and then I would pummel the crap out of him. Or even better, ignore it, score a couple goals, and then in the post game say you were motivated by his comments and let his OWN TEAM take care of it internally. As I said, this is just another example of a commissioner needing some camera time.

Posted by: dbrine1261 | December 5, 2008 6:40 PM | Report abuse

Poor Jen-s She feels violated. First off learn the sexual harrassment rules in your work place before you look stupid. It is very clearly not a sexual harrassmant case, and sexual harrassment has nothing to do with how many men or women work in your work place. It would be more likely to be one if he HAD made comments on the ice. At least there one could argue, probably unsuccessfully, that it "hindered their ability to perform their job to the best of their ability". In addition before punishment could occur the individual would have to be told to stop his behavior, and then he would have to continue the objectionable language or behavior.

What this is however is a clear violation of the first amendment. He neither slandered or even called anyone by name. It was in poor taste obviously, and he is a low life obviously, but noone was damaged, and no lies were told. If he slept with her, and she slept with someone after...... well..... it isn't against the law to tell the truth however crude. Unfortunately the same laws that allow you to come on here and call names and lay judgement on this guy are the the same ones that protect him from his employer. He should fight it. I think it would be great if he went to court and had to repeat what he said over and over until every person in the country knew what a buffoon he is, but if he did it, he would win. No matter what it says in his contract, you cant sign away your constitutional rights.... (except maybe when you join the military. Some will get that. lol)

Posted by: dbrine1261 | December 5, 2008 6:55 PM | Report abuse

Last comment - to those like runchris - You are 100% wrong. The league in no way has the right to legislate a players speech. That is the whole purpose for the first ammendment to begin with. Thin kabout it before you say such things. if they can legislate his speech and behavior, can they also require him to attend events? You may say yes, again you would be wrong. If they can do that then they could make him attend a religeous or political rally that the league supports? Now you probably say no. But which is it and who decides? The constitution decides and nobody can take those rights from you, or fire you becuae you dont conform. PERIOD. If anyone ever fought this to the higher courts, the leagues would all lose. PERIOD. In order to even have a case to argue the NHL would have to show in some way they were damaged, and in fact you could argue just the opposite as this has gotten so much free press that they have in fact probably profited. You all should be careful to speak of the costitution without having read or studied it. One day it will happen. A veteran who is retiring anyway will sue for something like this and win, and win big.

Posted by: dbrine1261 | December 5, 2008 7:04 PM | Report abuse

I thought it was my last comment until i read more of runchris' drivel. You sir are a pansy, and if your woman makes the decisions in your house, decides if you can go out and play with the other boys, or picks the clothes you can buy for you or your children, you are a sad example of a man and an american. What I have just said is many times worse than what this guy said, and I am in no danger of any legal repercussion, and of course since you are this guy I would have no fear of any from you either. Please please learn the law brfore you spout things as fact. Your facts are nothing more than uninformed opinions. Becuase you say an isolated incident by a player never before suspended will make any sector of the population less likely to spend money, does not make it so. In fact one could argue that the press this received may draw the immature male demographib that doesn't have to ask anyone before they go watch their smack talking, low class, favorite player. If what you say were true then the WWE would be bankrupt, but wait, their biggest demographic after 14-34 year old men is.....wait for it...... thats right 17-30 year old women!!!

Like I said, learn the law. It's one of the few things that is not opinion and is based on history, precedent (we will come back to that one), and formost the Constitution, which the even the almighty NHL does not come before. No matter how many times you say it is fact. The fact is unless you can prove that his comments are detremental to the league than calling someone a NIGGE-, then his suspenion is unjust as players routinely get suspensions half that long for those actions. You see that is called precedent and it holds in every court in the land. Fight the man Sean..... learn some class too.... but fight the man and idiots like runchris!! See you in court!

Posted by: dbrine1261 | December 5, 2008 7:25 PM | Report abuse

Avery has proven over his career that he's an agitator on the ice, and an absolute dirtbag off of it. If he's on your team, you appreciate most of the stuff he does, but probably wish he'd keep his piehole shut; If he plays for your opponent, you hate him & hope he'll do something stupid (like this) to earn a seat for a few games.

Posted by: BinM | December 5, 2008 8:22 PM | Report abuse

The NHL is an entertainment business and it has the right to control it's product within reason. He's a classless guy and clearly the league, his coaches and team mates don't want to be associated with him. I wouldn't either. I used to be a fan - I'm an instigator myself - but he crossed the line. If you support him, you should get a class check.

Posted by: TheCapitalist1 | December 5, 2008 8:23 PM | Report abuse

Re: Ovie as Captain

Off topic for this poll, but I wanted to add.. I would not think Ov would be made captain. When you wear the C you are made to do a ton of promoting and lots of meet and greets. Ov already does these things, I know, but it seems the captain really needs to have more time set aside for these duties and if it were me, I would not put my star player in that position. Especially one that would try and do everything. But as I am not the coach, I could be WAY off!

Thanks to whoever linked the Semin SI article. I thought it was a pretty good piece...seemed true to who he is and impressive as to what his teammates think of his abilities. He'll grow up and see the big "NHL" picture - what is he - 23? Hope to see Semin, Feds and Greene soon.


----------------------------------------
I can't see Bruce taking the captaincy away from Clark. That's not how Bruce operates. I just wish Clark would see the writing on the wall and offer the 'C' to Ovie. And who knows, maybe he has done that and Ovie refused it.

Posted by: tess2201 | December 5, 2008 12:14 PM

Posted by: vkova10 | December 5, 2008 8:59 PM | Report abuse

@Section117 - On the ice is the appropriate venue for such a comment. It is part of Avery's job to make the other players lose focus, and that is what that sort of comment is intended to do. Talk all the trash you want in private. And hell, do it in public if you want to, BUT be willing to accept the consequences if people throw a fit.

I stand by my original commentary, that it was a classless remark, and should not have been made in the manner it was made.

Now, mind you, slander is only slander if it's untrue... and the first amendment DOES guarantee his right to speak. It does NOT, however, guarantee that he won't suffer the consequences if he says something offensive in an inappropriate forum.

Posted by: irockthered | December 5, 2008 10:14 PM | Report abuse

I'm still trying to figure out why we are dicussing the first amendment of the US Constitution when the incident happened in......Canada?

That being said, I can't stand Avery. He's similar to Matthew Barnaby, someone who plays dirty hockey but is the first to whine to the ref or dive to make a penalty look worse. BUT.....what he said has absolutely nothing to do with hockey. As others have said, suspensions have been much shorter for far worse offenses, hockey offenses by the way. Dirty hits, stick swinging, etc, those deserve suspensions. This deserves, at worst, a major fine.

Could you imagine if the NBA suspended players so easily? Some teams might have trouble fielding a 5 player squad on most nights.

Posted by: RobInVaBeach | December 5, 2008 10:21 PM | Report abuse

Where is Avery's right to free speech!

The official politically correct public attitude is to put all women on a pedestal! Unmarried pregnant women are given the same social status as pregnant married women. Just read the magazines (People, etc.) or watch the TV shows (Entertainment Tonight, Oprah, etc.)


Christine Brinkley is treated as a sweet innocent individual even though she has been married four times. Her ex-husband Pete Cook is treated as dirt due to spending $3,000 a month for pornography. Brinkley probably spends $15,000 to $20,000 a month for clothing and personal beauty related benefits. Yet, she get no criticisms!

Posted by: dtmbretire | December 5, 2008 11:11 PM | Report abuse

@Section117 - On the ice is the appropriate venue for such a comment. It is part of Avery's job to make the other players lose focus, and that is what that sort of comment is intended to do. Talk all the trash you want in private. And hell, do it in public if you want to, BUT be willing to accept the consequences if people throw a fit.

Posted by: irockthered | December 5, 2008 10:14 PM
-------------------------------------------
So you want the steak but aren't willing to know what it takes to get the cow slaughtered? How's that working out for you?

Deadspin has an interesting Avery-related story that was told by a Penguins player who wishes to remain anonymous. It's what the league uses to "tweak" Avery on ice and is a funny story IMHO.

Posted by: Section117 | December 6, 2008 8:07 AM | Report abuse

I'm sure you've read my initial reaction to this whole thing. I was actually the first to post about the incident on here. However, I try to be objective and after listening to all sides and various opinions (including 2 long interviews with Bettman) here are my conclusions:

1. Avery got what he wanted. He's now the most famous hockey player in the world. People who have never heard of Ovechkin or Crosby now know who Avery is.

2. Whatever Bettman would have done would've gotten him slammed by someone. It's fashionable to criticize him for anything he does anyway. When you're in his position you have to make a decision and people will have various opinions of it.

3. It's not a matter of free speech. You can say that the Holocaust was a hoax and call blacks the N word and you can't be arrested for it, but try saying that at the office (or mentioning that a woman at the office is your sloppy seconds and you're wondering why other employees are dating her). Avery works for the NHL (Dallas Stars in particular) so the NHL can set their own standards. Free speech is irrelevant in this case.

4. Saying the same thing on the ice is different than seeking out the media and launching a rehearsed verbal attack on a player that immediately goes into the public domain. Things that are said on the ice are left on the ice.

5. It will be interesting to see what the Stars do because the latest comments from some of their top players and the coach sound like they don't want Avery on the team any longer, yet they're stuck with a big 4-year contract he just signed (around $4 million per season).

6. Comparing the length of suspension to on ice incidents is not particularly fair. Those mostly happen in the heat of the battle and some of the injuries are a result of bad luck. It's a very fast game. Things happen. Avery's incident was very different and greatly embarrassed his club and the whole league.

7. One thing is very clear. Avery is a total dick. Probably the worst thing that I found out about him is that when he was with the Kings he used to taunt Dustin Brown, a very talented rookie at the time for his lisp.

So this is my summary of various angles based on what I've heard from all sides.

Posted by: ranndino | December 6, 2008 12:55 PM | Report abuse

Hey---Anyone ever heard of "freedom of speech" around here????

Posted by: peppycap | December 6, 2008 1:46 PM | Report abuse

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