Sean Avery was suspended today.
Someone wake me up because I'm about to defend Sean Avery.
I personally don't see anything wrong with Sean Avery making those comments for two reasons only:
(1) Sean Avery saying outlandish stuff isn't news anymore, so don't print it if you don't think its newsworthy.
(2) Reporters often ignore or censor outlandish stuff they hear from professional athleters in order to maintain a more politically correct, washed down version of events for a report worded in "athlete-speak." They do not make that compromise in the case of "Avery-talk," however.
A prime example of what reporters usually do when faced with reporting "crass" comments or "foul-mouthed" comments is self-censorship. How often are such comments deliberately broadcasted on CBC or published in the newspaper? Next to never. Because that would be irresponsible of the journalist, right? Here's one example of a piss-poor article that is willing to compromise the "punch line" in their reporting in order to adhere to journalistic standards and not to offend anyone. Why these compromises aren't made in the case of "Avery-talk" are very clear: he's a damn quotable and the feeling in the NHL media is that you're a fool not to be the first to publish his comments. More on why he gets this special treatment later.
Of course, we have our own quotable character in Craig MacTavish, who has been punished in the past for his words and conduct on and off the ice. I'm not saying the media should censor everything and take the sizzle of out of the reporting business. But there's a certain level of responsibility the individual reporter has to identify the right and the wrong time to publish certain comments. However, it's a consistent theme with the media and the league if you're dealing with Sean Avery. Sean Avery is the pest everyone loves to hate and the NHL is doing a splendid job picking on the guy.
He's been getting the Chris Simon treatment, but is the response proportional the stimulus?
Just ask yourself - how many years have NHL guys spent their careers in front of the goaltender's crease? Dino Cicarelli? Tomas Holmstrom? Ryan Smyth? Their whole damn careers. But the NHL up and changed the rules in the rulebook over Avery's treatment of Martin Brodeur.
Boohoo. The future hall of famer and NHL golden boy can't handle a little pressure from an annoying crease crasher. Boohoo.
All I have to say to that is Martin Brodeur needs to grow a pair and pull a Ron Hextall and deal with it if his defenseman don't feel like they're up to the task. Or I guess he could let the NHL and Gary Bettman come to his rescue...
Honestly. If you think Sean Avery is annoying and you don't want his words published as a special report anymore, let it be known to the NHL-covering media that his garbage isn't newsworthy anymore. Otherwise, Avery will keep getting special treatment - both from the media and from the NHL. And that's not exactly fair to him, either.
On the plus side, he won't be around to play us on Wednesday.