This weather blows ball sac, doesn't it? At least it's not snow. No no, it won't snow until I have another date planned (Tuesday, at this point). But God, this fucking sucks. Give me summer and 85 degrees.
Anybitchandcomplain, I found this story on Queerty (I read the gay blogs avidely, Good As You being my favorite, Jeremy Hooper is a fucking genius in so many ways), and I thought it was relevant to the post I did last week about gay athletes and jersey chasers. And, it also is a minor redeemer for Sean Avery, who I think is a huge dick to the ladies. But then again, most athletes are, and not many of them stand up for gay kids.
He was quoted as saying this:
"If there's a kid in Canada or wherever, who is playing [hockey] and really loves the game and wants to keep playing but he's worried about coming out, I'd tell him to pick up the phone and call (NHLPA Exec. Director) Donald Fehr and tell him to book me a plane ticket. I'll stand beside him in the dressing room while he tells his teammates he is gay. Maybe if Sean Avery is there, they would have less of a problem with it."
Avery goes on to say:
"[There are] probably a few gay players in the NHL, but I don't know if somebody has the courage (to come out). The reaction from fans in visiting arenas would be tough, but I don't think it would be that big of a deal. I get booed no matter where I go."
Ok, let's break down the shitty/funny parts before I give Avery props for doing and saying the right thing.
First of all, I love that he speaks in the third person. "Maybe if Sean Avery is there, they would have less of a problem with it". I could totally see him referencing himself in the third person, couldn't you? "Sean Avery loves the gays, Sean Avery will kick the shit out of any kid who makes fun of a gay kid, Sean Avery doesn't care when other players take his sloppy seconds." Fucking Dbag, GOD, even when he's trying to be nice, he hypes himself up to the Nth fucking degree. I feel like he's trying to compare himself to the likes of Wayne Gretzky. Avery is known more for being an asshole than he is for his insane hockey skills and leadership abilities for Christ sake.
Next up, Avery should book his own God damn plane ticket. The day he does that, and doesn't have the NHL pay for it, then I will take back every bad thing I've ever said about him. When he spends his own God damn money to stick up for the gay kid. If a gay kid in Canada wrote to Sean Avery and said "I would like to take you up on your offer, I want to be myself and let my hockey team, who are like my brothers, know I am gay, and your support would really help me overcome this fear in front of them," and Avery asked Fehr to pay for it and he declined, would Avery just be all "sorry kid, I have millions of dollars but I'm not spending it on a roundtrip Air Canada ticket"?
Alright, those are my gripes. Now let me (grudingly) commend Avery on the majority of this answer.
First, I like that Avery is seriously stick up for gay kids in a major way, particularly when it comes to athletics and sports and all things viewed as "too masculine for the gays". Hockey is a VERY masculine sport. The dudes are big, brawny, Canadian, toothless, and they beat the shit out of each other. Todd Bertuzzi almost killed a guy once (holler, Canucks). But I wonder if there is as much anti-gay hostility as there is/would be in say, football? Hockey is not Canada's national sport (that would be lacrosse...learned something new today, didn't you?), but hockey is HUGE in Canada. Canada, where gay marriage is legal. Canada, where gays can serve openly in the military. Canada, where religious morons don't have the ability to use Jesus to hate on people and their civil liberties. Canada, where Tim Horton's is just a million times fucking tastier. And a lot of players in the NHL ARE Canadian. I feel like because of this, there is a little bit more of an acceptance toward gays. Even my NHL flame of seasons past once told me he wouldn't care if any of his teammates were gay. I think Avery is also doing a lot of gay kids, be they hockey players or aspiring ballerinas, a big thing by saying he would gladly walk in a dressing room with them and stand by their side as they came out. As much as I hate to admit it, yeah, Avery has a name in the NHL. He's a big player who makes the press a lot and he is viewed as a bad ass. Whether he ever follows through on that offer or not, a gay hockey player (or basketball player or race car driver or baseball player) who is 15,16, 17, and nervous about coming out, might read that and think "fuck it, if Sean Avery who plays on an international level would not only accept me but stand by me, why should I be afraid of these fuckers in high school?" He knows he has an ally on the pro level. And I'm sure Avery isn't the only one.
Next, beyond the fact that Avery is playing potential body guard, I also like that he calls out the fact that yeah, there are probably some dudes who like peen who also like to knock teeth out and go on the power play. It's inevitable. And I think it's big of Avery to say that it would take courage for a guy on the top level to come out, because he puts the act of coming out in a positive light - it's courageous, not stupid. Brave, not a death sentence for a career. And your straight counter parts are standing behind this.
And I also agree with him about the whole booing situation. Yeah, there will be some backlash. Noooo doubt about it. You will get the mean remarks and shit when you're at another arena, in a big game, whatever. But dude, Derek Jeter gets booed the second he steps into Fenway. I was part of a group of nearly 60,000 people chanting "who's your daddy?" at Yankee Stadium in 2004 (that one came back to bite me in the ass) at Pedro Martinez. I witnessed a black laxer get called "nigger" in my collegiate managing days. There will ALWAYS be people who don't like you, even if it's just because of the jersey you put on. And more often than not, that's going to be the reason they are saying nasty shit - not because they actually dislike the fact that you're gay, but because you are a Yankee in Redsox territory. Because you play for Ohio State and you're in Michigan. Because I hate everyone who plays for the Redsox, but I'd really be a fan of them if they came to the Yankees (a la Johnny Damon). That's the mentality gay athletes need to adopt to overcome the stupidity of the fan base - it's the dislike of the team they are a part of, NOT necessarily the dislike of the person or their sexuality.
Yeah, Avery's right. It'll take courage to overcome the boundaries gays have to face in sports. But I don't doubt it'll happen. It'll just take the right time.
So yeah, Avery gets a reprieve. I was very impressed that he stood up for the gays and offered his support in his own, egotistically fucked up way. I still wouldn't bang him, I don't think...I mean, maybe...nah, probably still wouldn't. But I do commend the fact that he has made a huge stride in the right direction for a lot of people, not just himself. If he helps even one gay kid on a hockey team feel more comfortable or more proud to be themselves, Avery did a huge good in the world. So kudos, Avery.
Also, here is one of my favorite videos. I used to hang around with this kid, Tyler (this was NOT my ex NHL flame btw). And he was a very very very interesting character. Here's Avery punching him for NO fucking reason during a minor league game. Good times.