Wednesday, October 12, 2005

Sean Avery strikes again

This guy is really getting out of hand. -- Depending on whether Edmonton Oilers forward Georges Laraque chooses to make it an issue, Los Angeles Kings winger Sean Avery could be in hot water again.

Sources tell Sportsnet that Avery allegedly directed a remark at Laraque during Tuesday night's game in Los Angeles, which prompted the Oilers to file a report with the NHL last night. However, no official on or off the ice heard anything. As a result, the league has had little choice but to leave the matter in the hands of Laraque to decide whether to file a complaint.

Sources say league officials are continuing to look into the matter.

If Laraque chooses to file a complaint, then the NHL will conduct a full investigation and Avery could potentially face disciplinary action.

For the moment, the matter is being characterized as a "he said-he said" situation.

I think we probably all draw pretty quick conclusions about what Avery said, and even though some might view Georges Laraque as not the most trustworthy guy (enforcers usually don't get the benefit of the doubt), it certainly wouldn't be out of character for Avery, who put his foot in his mouth with comments about French players being cowardly in the pre-season.

For whatever reason, as a society, we don't view anti-French comments with the distain as we do those revolving around the colour of one's skin (I've always chalked it up to the great language divide in this country), but at some point, nonsense like this has to be snuffed out.

Hockey has made a lot of strides as far as minorities getting into the game, with at least 20 Black players currently in the NHL and many more on the way. Go to a minor hockey league game in this country and you'll see that the faces on the ice almost accurately reflect the ones walking the street.

Unfortunately, for every step forward we seem to make here, elsewhere in the world, they appear to be 100 steps back. When Anson Carter was playing in Russia during the lockout, he was taunted by fans who made monkey noises and threw bananas onto the ice. Such an occurance is apparently not uncommon in European soccer.

The NHL has not been free of racism allegations either. In recent years, there were accusations from Mike Grier, who's Black, about comments from Chris Simon (who's Native), as well as Tie Domi being accused of making comments towards Sandy McCarthy. Nothing major ever came out of them, and within a few weeks, the stories were mostly forgotten, swept under the rug. To Simon's credit, he apparently travelled to Edmonton to personally apologize to Grier, but as a league, the NHL didn't do much.

I'm sure a lot of people hope the same thing happens here. And I can sort of get why. Hockey is trying to get good press right now, and the last thing they need is a story of racism on the ice between players. However, eventually, this issue needs to be resolved. If Sean Avery did in fact make the comments we can all assume he did, it has to be addressed. Shine the light on biggots like him and make it clear that anyone who follows his path will get similar treatment.

The NHL wants to have the best athletes in the world in their league. They want talented young men of all races and creeds to see hockey as a viable option. By allowing intolerance in their game, or at least turning a blind eye to it, they're only hurting themselves.


At 9:44 PM, Blogger Grampapinhead said...

or not,
Laraque is a
classy guy,
Avery is Not
trust an old guy, this will go away !


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