UChic Pop Rocks: Unsportsmanlike Conduct

It seems like pro-athletes continually reaffirm the time-honored cliché of the obnoxious, meat-head jock (see: every teen movie ever). The latest:
This week, NHL player Sean Avery was suspended indefinitely from the NHL for publicly talking smack on his ex-girlfriends. The Dallas Stars forward made this statement Tuesday morning at a press conference:

“I’m really happy to be back in Calgary; I love Canada. I just want to comment on how it’s become like a common thing in the NHL for guys to fall in love with my sloppy seconds. I don’t know what that’s about. Enjoy the game tonight.”

Avery is one of the NHL’s only headline-grabbing stars (in the off season, the fashion-conscious hockey player made headlines for interning at Vogue) and is known for being kind of an ass-hat on and off the ice. So it’s not too surprising that Avery would be the one mouthing off about his exes to the press for no apparent reason other than attention. The two women he crudely refers to as his “sloppy seconds” are actress Elisha Cuthbert, who’s currently dating Avery’s teammate Dion Phaneuf, and model Rachel Hunter who’s dating a player on the Los Angeles Kings. While they have questionable taste in men, there’s nothing obvious about either woman that would warrant Avery’s obnoxious shout-out.

What’s just as curious as the latest demonstration of Avery’s ass-hattedness is the strong, swift measure the league and commissioner Gary Bettman took in suspending him. The owner of the Dallas Stars stood by the league’s decision, stating, “This organization will not tolerate such behavior, especially from a member of our hockey team. We hold our team to a higher standard and will continue to do so.”

I’m actually a bit surprised at the drastic response of the league to some idiot’s immature comments. I underestimated how much the organizations care about their players’ behavior off the ice, considering how often you hear negative coverage about athletes’ legal disputes or criminal activity.

Did the NHL made the right decision in suspending Avery from hockey indefinitely? Or maybe hockey, an attention-starved sport, should lighten up and acknowledge that Avery and his big mouth aren’t going away anytime soon- and with its own meat-head jock, people might start paying attention to hockey a little bit more.

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