Sloppy second-day story: The Sean Avery reaction roundup

"To engage in sexual intercourse where ejaculation has previously occurred in the orifice by another male within a short time frame. The sperm and semen is then used as a natural lubrication by the second male." - Entry for "Sloppy Seconds" from

The definition above is provided not for shock value but by indirect request. While many of the comments on our stories about the indefinite suspension of Sean Avery and the NHL's shortsighted reaction have been of the freedom of speech/League overreaction variety, some have made the point that his comments (video) are quite misogynistic. With dictionary context (albeit Urban Dictionary), you can see why some feel that way.

Does this frat-boy taunt warrant an NHL suspension? Of course it doesn't. But don't misunderstand my defense of Avery: It does warrant some type discipline. It's a violation of team rules, and likely a violation of his team contract. (Did Brett Hull and the Stars have the good sense to write behavior clauses into Avery's four-year deal? And if so, what's the trigger for a potential buyout?)

Notice the word "team" in the paragraph above. Again, the NHL going after Avery for his joke elevates what should be a locker-room issue to Gary Bettman's kangaroo court of suspension injustice. If it's an issue of player safety in the Dallas Stars' game against the Calgary Flames last night, then the NHL has some obligation to take action ... although if that were the case, Ian White shouldn't be allowed to play the Atlanta Thrashers for the next two seasons.

If it's an issue about Avery's behavior and his crude humor, then the NHL has overreached, overreacted and turned Avery into a martyr instead of allowing the Stars to muzzle him as they see fit -- in the process, saving the League from the backlash. How Mirtle doesn't see the difference between a team suspending Avery for "sloppy seconds" and the League suspending him is baffling to me.

The venerable editor of From the Rink is just one of dozens of pundits, bloggers and sports media to weigh in on Avery today. The reactions have really, really been surprising and insightful.

James Mirtle, From the Rink - "NHL right to suspend Avery"

What if his next move is to dump on the daughters of opposing general managers? What if he does it when the Stars next game is against the Canadiens? And, hey, let's make fun of ol' Walter Gretzky while we're in Phoenix, too!

That is not how you build a brand. It's a sideshow, plain and simple, and if you rely on the Averys of the NHL to determine where the line is and if they can cross it, we're heading into ugly territory indeed.

And, at some point, someone might even try to make Avery the league's latest version of Steve Moore.

Eric McErlain, The Sporting Blog - "Sean Avery's 'Sloppy Seconds' Suspension Raises New Punishment Questions for the NHL"

What exactly do you do with Avery? Sure, we've established that he's an absolute jerk, but how many games are you going to suspend him for tossing schoolyard insults in public -- especially as the league seems to be predisposed to turning a blind eye to a cavalcade of questionable hits that could very well have put a premature end to the career of any number of players?

So what's the more heinous action: an admittedly distasteful comment aimed at an opponent and uttered before the cameras or an elbow delivered to the head of a helpless opponent with his back turned?

Ben Kuzma, Canwest - "NHL ignoring real troublemakers"

Now, let me see if I've got this straight. The NHL has had its head stuck in the sand while attempting to legislate hits to the head. A graded scale of penalties and suspensions that can address intent and injury should be in place so careers aren't in jeopardy. But there's no real progress on that front to adopt stiff sanctions for any shot to the head.

It's the pink elephant roaming NHL head office that is being ignored.

However, the league wasted no time Tuesday in citing provisions of Bylaw 17 and Article 6 of the constitution. Avery's conduct was deemed "detrimental to the league and the game of hockey." The suspension was imposed for what the NHL calls inappropriate public comments not pertaining to the game of hockey.

YouTube star Steve Dangle - "Avery is a Tool" (2:50 mark)

Gord from Front of the Net - "Sean Avery, Threat To Our Children"

The imagery is not good? We just saw those Saw goalie masks earlier in the season, one of which featured a mouth being torn apart. That imagery is so much better for the League's family friendly image, than one bad joke made to the Calgary media? I don't have the numbers right offhand here, but I assume that far more people in both markets watched the NHL regular season games that featured masks with movie serial killers than the number of people that watched a midday, midweek media briefing. Without the media repeating this line, nobody knows about it. Yet, it's worse than those goalie masks?

It's misogynistic, shows a lack of respect and objectifies women? First, it's not like the League has done wonders to not objectify women, as evidenced by the continued existence of the "puck bunny." For those unfamiliar with the term, one such girl enjoys the meeting of hockey players, in the Biblical sense, as one of her favorite hobbies.

Jamie Fitzpatrick, - "Avery violates hockey's trash talk rules"

Wives, girlfriends and sexual orientation are popular topics of conversation among men on skates, all part of the never-ending quest to get under the opponent's skin.

(A tradition celebrated in all its dubious glory by the dialogue in Slap Shot)

But it's a private conversation. The rules of trash talk dictate that the salty stuff stays on the ice, for players' ears only.

So in the hockey world, Sean Avery's sin isn't what he said. It's where he said it: in front of TV cameras.

Arthur Staple, Newsday - "Bring Sean Avery back to New York"

Give me a break. You're telling me Hicks hadn't heard a word about Avery's penchant for classlessness before he approved the $15.5 million over four years?

Count Hicks as another hypocritical, clueless owner. He had no problems with Avery in July, despite the long list of behavior issues. Now, the Stars have a higher standard.

So, if the Stars are so mortified by Avery and want to be done with him, what's next? How about a Rangers reunion?

Tim Sassone, Daily Herald (IL) - "Who's on third (line)?"

The Dallas Stars stink and maybe Sean Avery is the reason why.
Dallas signed Avery to a four-year, $15 million contract as a free agent and all he has been is trouble. Avery was suspended by the NHL indefinitely on Tuesday for making inappropriate comments about Calgary defenseman Dion Phaneuf and his girlfriend, actress Elisha Cuthbert, who once dated Avery.

Even Mike Modano thinks Avery is a goof. Mike Modano, who is the Dallas Stars!

If the Stars had any guts they'd buy out Avery right now and try to save their season.

Joe DeLessio, New York Magazine - "Plaxico Burress and Sean Avery Suspended for Two Very Different Reasons"

Avery was suspended indefinitely (pending a meeting with the commissioner) for violating a bylaw on conduct "detrimental to the league or the game of hockey." In Avery's defense, there is a pattern: Cuthbert also reportedly dated the Montreal Canadiens' Mike Komisarek, and another ex - model Rachel Hunter - is engaged to the Kings' Jarrett Stoll. What is the sports world coming to? You can't carry a loaded gun into a nightclub or make fun of your ex-girlfriend in front of TV cameras? We're telling ya, it's a police state out there.

Richie Whitt, Dallas Observer - "Sean Avery Got Suspended? For What?!"

I know Avery is the most hated man in hockey and he's well on his way to alienating himself from the entire Stars' room with his on- and off-ice shenanigans, but this suspension amounts to making a pile out of profanity. Wait. It's not even profanity.

Raise your hand if you've never used the term "sloppy seconds". Raise it higher if you've never indulged. I won't even ask if you'd re-trace Avery's footsteps to Cuthbert.

Over, above and separate, Avery's line was funny. No?

Sorry, I don't get it. Jerry Jones didn't as much as admonish Pacman Jones for getting in an alcohol-induced fight with his own bodyguard at a local hotel and Mark Cuban didn't punish Josh Howard for his vulgar disrespect of our national anthem, but Tom Hicks will suspended Avery for this?

Finally, Wrap Around Curl is one of our favorite members of the burgeoning (and seriously underappreciated) ranks of female hockey bloggers. She sent along this observation over e-mail. (If you have one, send it along, too.)

So I have been thinking about the Avery Issue. While I think his comments were hilariously inappropriate, what has been most interesting is the blogger reaction. I have noticed a good lot of responses from the writing folk and talking head folk look at the sex issue. Words like sexism and feminism are being batted around. And I won't lie, for me for, for the most part, a dude writing about chick issues is just weird.

One blogger said Avery was suspended for misogyny, which shows just how this issue has grown. I am not entirely sure it was misogyny per se. But I would advise those wishing to speak for female fans to consider their words. As we are all not to be lumped together under the feminist umbrella.

We all could be feminists sure. But have you ever been around a bunch of feminists? They can't agree on [expletive]. I dropped a women's study class after two days because it's too much. It's just a charged topic. Not even my female blogger core has the same viewpoint on S-Avery.

So is the issue at hand the man whore vs. the slut? I mean, Cuthbert and Avery have been around the block. Last I knew, a sloppy second could apply to a male or female. But now it's being called sexist because Avery said it.

I am just getting flashes of when female hockey fans are put into their own bubble and people just get too angry for anything to be accomplished or settled. I just think dudes need to slow their roll before deciding to comment on behalf of women. For the most part they have done a great job (you and Mirtle especially) and it's clear there is more to the issue.

I think about stuff despite writing about fake boyfriends.

Clearly the internets are serious business. 

Indeed they are. If you see any more interesting takes on the Avery matter, send them our way and we'll pop them into the headlines today. Thanks for reading.

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