Saturday, October 17, 2009

Sean Avery and the Media: What Have We Learned? (12/5/08)

This is one in a series of "best of " posts that will run while I am in the hinterland of the American desert Southwest where Internet service is sporadic at best. Some are timely and some need to be taken in the context of the date of first publication. Enjoy and comment if you wish.

This entire episode of the Sean Avery show which has now exceeded a 72 hour run reminds me of the recent Coen Brothers movie “Burn After Reading”. At the end of the excellent 96 minute film after a wild ride of espionage, blackmail and deaths, the CIA dude ends the movie with the question “So… what have we learned?”

I am now asking myself the same question. What started on Tuesday as a little pre-game spice, which according to Sean Avery was to basically draw a little pub for the evening’s game against Calgary, and has now reached somewhat of an intermediate conclusion by Avery being suspended by the league for six games, still leaves us asking “what have we learned?”

I guess I have learned that the media has the power to completely castigate an individual that it proclaims as politically incorrect, distasteful, sexist, or otherwise evil in some way that the media deems inappropriate. I don’t think anyone would say Sean Avery is a “likable” person and most folks probably consider him somewhere in a range of a minor irritant to a despised horse’s ass (apologies to horses). That being said, Sean Avery would appear to be a perfect target that the media feels free to take shots at and finish off an already severely tarnished reputation.

I have learned or come to believe that Sean Avery is the hockey version of George Bush. Character-wise I’m not comparing the two, just the fact that both have reached the point where in the media’s eye nothing that either have ever done or will do in the future will ever be presented in a positive light.

I have learned that the term that Avery used referring to his ex-girlfriends and their current beaus while commonly used in PG-13 movies geared to 10 year old boys is not an acceptable term to be used off the ice in the NHL.

I have learned that you can get suspended for a longer period for saying something “unacceptable” than you can for an illegal hit, boarding, cross checking and hitting with intent to injure during an NHL game. A good bloody fight also appears OK too. I guess the schoolyard adage “sticks and stones can break my bones but words can never hurt me” was not included in the NHL players association agreement with the league.

I have learned through observation of different quotes in the media that “the Sean Avery show” is not welcomed in Dallas (or Calgary and probably 28 other NHL cities). He does not appear to have any friends in the Star’s locker-room and may be a contributing factor to the team’s dismal start in what was expected to be a potential run at the Stanly Cup.

I have learned (heard) that Sean Avery prefers the company of artists, writers, fashion designers, and other Hollywood types to that of his comrades in the NHL. Avery holds himself and his elite friends in higher regard than his coworkers that helped land him a $3.8 million dollar a year contract that requires him to associate with other hockey players. I hope the fashion magazines that he moonlights with will be able to pick up the tab when the gravy train of the NHL ends abruptly.

I have learned that anyone that wears a chip on their shoulder or wants to appear to have a “holier than thou” attitude can be easily offended by the verbiage Avery used that got him into trouble. I have also learned that others including my wife and female co-workers didn’t consider his comment to be the world changing big deal that it was made out to be and are totally baffled why others have made such a big deal out of it.

I’ve learned that the stunt Avery pulled in front of Martin Brodour in last year’s playoffs caused a rule change but did not draw a suspension. Personally, I thought that was a more serious infraction to the gentlemanly nature of the hockey “code” that players generally adhere to in self policing the game.

I have learned that ESPN and other media outlets only want to give headlines to hockey when it is something perceived as negative. It was probably the first time in ESPN history that comments made after a morning skate received headline status for a period of three days and counting.

Finally, I have learned that Sean Avery will continue to be Sean Avery and that the media will continue to do what it does in sensationalizing things that it feels will have legs and draw folks to watch for longer periods of time and more often in order to sell advertising. In that regard, Sean Avery is to ESPN what a category 5 hurricane is to the Weather Channel.

The primary focus of Sean Avery and the media is the very same thing – self promotion and anything to get attention. Both constantly scream “LOOK AT ME!” all the time. In this case one made money off the deal and the other will soon be in the hockey player unemployment line. I’m not a Sean Avery fan and I’m certainly not a fan of the modern day media. My opinion of both has sunk to new lows as a result of this entire media circus.

Buddy Oakes for PredsOnTheGlass

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