Sean Avery of the (National Hockey League) Dallas Stars has been suspended for 6 games for comments he made to reporters. Avery said:
“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, but enjoy the game tonight.”
Avery formerly dated two actresses, both of whom have gone on to date other N.H.L. players. For the enquiring mind, ESPN provides more coverage here.
With Avery’s suspension, the N.H.L. is not taking a stand against sexism, as I first hoped. Avery’s suspension is for “inappropriate public comments about the personal lives of opposing players, and not pertaining to the game,” says the league. Commenting on the incident, Stars coach Dave Tippett said (here), “I think the words, the words and disrespect for an opponent like that is something … there’s lots of trash talking that goes on on the ice. But then to announce something like that for everybody to hear, to me that crosses the line and the League — and our ownership felt that, too.” In other words, the “wrong” done by Avery was to other men, not the women whom he disparaged with the gross sexual reference. Avery disparaged other men with the suggestion that he had sex with these women first, placing himself higher in the male mating hierarchy.
I agree with the league that Avery’s comments are wrong because they disparage the opposing players. But the comments are also wrong because they disparage women. Calling women “seconds” — cast off, hand-me-downs — portrays women as objects for male consumption.