Tuesday, May 10, 2011

Kerrzy’s Notebook: Uptown Sports Slams Sean Avery

New York Rangers agitator Sean Avery is in the middle of some off-ice controversy this week, but it’s not what you might think!

No, he isn’t insulting an ex-girlfriend in the media or running his mouth about a fellow NHLer on a sports talk show. In fact, he actually hasn’t done anything wrong in this case. Believe it or not, Avery is on the receiving end of this one and it really has nothing to do with hockey.

The 31-year-old former Vogue intern teamed up with the Human Rights Campaign and released a 30-second video for “New Yorkers for Marriage Equality” over the weekend, where he came out in support of same-sex marriage. According to ESPN, Avery appears to be the first pro athlete in New York to join the campaign, which features videos from people like NY Mayor Michael Bloomberg, the daughter of George W. Bush and several politicians and celebrities.

While most of the initial feedback was positive, the vice president of a sports management agency that represents a handful of NHLers has ripped Avery, calling same-sex marriage “wrong” on the company’s official Twitter account!

First off, for the sake of context, here’s the Avery video in support of marriage equality:

Now, here’s what Uptown Sports Management VP Todd Reynolds had to say about it:


Later in the day, Reynolds appeared on TSN radio to talk a little more about his comments, saying:

“There’s certainly a voice for the other side on this particular issue. I was merely responding to the other voice. I believe in standing up for what you believe in. I’m passionate about what I believe in and I believe in morality and I believe in right and wrong. I know many people with different viewpoints for what is right and wrong. I’m a little disappointed in some of the responses. If you oppose a viewpoint, you’re immediately targeted by some people as a hater, a bigot, intolerant, homophobic and many other terms. That’s obviously not the case for people who know me. I don’t hate anyone and I’m certainly not a bigot.”

Okay, where shall we begin?

First off, I think we should all applaud Sean Avery for speaking up in support of something he believes in. Love him or hate him, it’s refreshing to see that from a pro athlete, as Puck Daddy’s Greg Wyshynski noted on Sunday. Also, he went public with his support even though he knows he’ll probably be subject to some more gay slurs on the ice next season (via the NY Times):

“People have been calling me names for 10 years just because I like to wear nice suits. It’s going to take a lot to get me upset or to get under my skin. I’m OK.”

As for Todd Reynolds and Uptown Sports, let’s start from the top.

Reynolds probably made a mistake when he used his company’s official Twitter account to voice his own personal opinion that gay marriage is “wrong,” whether it is “legal or not.” While everyone is entitled to his or her own opinions, a company Twitter account probably isn’t the best venue for this type of thing. Actually, that’s about as irresponsible as you can get!

A few hours later he “clarified” those remarks by assuring the public that he’s not a bigot, he doesn’t hate anyone and he’s not intolerant.

That’s funny, because here’s the definition of intolerance: [The] unwillingness or refusal to tolerate or respect contrary opinions or beliefs, persons of difference races or backgrounds, etc. (See: “Legal or not, it will always be wrong.”).

Why would Reynolds, who has only been in charge of updating the company Twitter account for about a month, even feel the need to publicly respond to this topic anyways? Is it in the public interest that we know that the VP of Uptown Sports Management thinks same-sex marriage is “wrong,” and that Sean Avery’s support of it is “sad” and “misguided”? Do we really need to know that he thinks “we are all equal,” but not when it comes to marriage?

No, we don’t.

Everyone is entitled to an opinion, but Todd Reynolds better hope that he hasn’t alienated or angered any of his company’s clients, especially considering the fact that they only represent seven or eight full time NHLers at the moment!

Reynolds says he’s not worried about clients disagreeing with him because, as he told TSN, “we’re going to disagree on all kinds of issues in life, but we have to be able to talk about them.” Here’s the true test: if Sean Avery were an Uptown client, would Reynolds still be sounding off about this “misguided support”?

Sounds like damage control to me!

What do you think: Was Reynolds wrong to use the company Twitter account to voice his opinions on Sean Avery’s support of same-sex marriage?

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