New York Rangers forward Shawn Avery has stirred up controversy again. Although, to be fair, this time it really isn’t his fault. The other day Avery came out in support of same-sex marriage, saying that everyone should be equal and have equal rights to marry, including gays. Now, Avery wasn’t just doing this to sound off on his opinion, he was doing it for a good cause, the New Yorkers for Marriage Equality campaign. The campaign is to try to take away from discrimination that gays and lesbians face.
The problem wasn’t what Avery said though, it was the response from Todd Reynolds, Tweeting under his agency business Uptown Sports. Uptown represents NHL players, including two of my favourites Mike Fisher and Chris Neil. Reynolds, who was in no way involved in the original message from Avery, thought it was worth his time to Tweet this.
Now he does have one thing right here, he is entitled to his own personal viewpoint. However, he obviously feels very strongly about it if he took the time to Tweet just because Shawn Avery came out in support of gay marriage earlier in the day. People say they support gay marriage every day, so its not as if it is rarity. The use of the words “misguided” and “very sad” show that he believes strongly that marriage should be between a man and a women. It also shows that he doesn’t think that Avery should be able to have that opinion. So, yes, he is expressing his own “personal viewpoint”, but he also makes it seem like everyone else should agree with him, or else they are “misguided” and wrong.
My biggest problem is that he says he thinks everyone is equal, to go on to say that gays shouldn’t have equal rights to marry. Talk about contradicting yourself. For full disclosure, I support gay marriage because it doesn’t negatively impact me in any way whatsoever. I have no reason not to support it.
Now here is how this relates back to sports media. Many people have sounded off on the debate on Twitter, most taking the side of Avery (that’s a first). However, this morning Sportsnet’s Damien Goddard decided to support Reynolds. Now I should point out that Goddard’s account isn’t verified and he only has 173 followers. However, he isn’t exactly that well known and he is followed by two guys who work in Sportsnet’s PR department and the Sportsnet Twitter account itself, so I’d say chances are it is Goddard. He Tweeted this
It is Goddard who I think made the biggest mistake. He works in media for the second biggest sports channel in Canada. If you are on TV, then you aren’t supposed to make controversial statements that might drive away viewers from your station. Goddard is an anchor on Connected. I’m not sure how his employer will react to his statement, but they should let him know how stupid it is to make a comment like that.
Then again, I suppose I’m only one of those on the “Liberal left” who is “lost”, according to Goddard in another Tweet. For what its worth on that issue, I supported the Conservatives in the last election.