09 May 2011

A Quick Aside: Bigotry, ignorance, and the shame of supporting Sean Avery

OK so this is weird.

After game 3, I pretty much went through the catharsis that usually follows a Wings elimination from the playoffs. Foul language was used, objects were kicked, beer was drank. Lather, rinse, repeat. Afterward, the Wings started turning it on a bit more, and found a way to win a couple of games. Nevertheless, the aforementioned catharsis is neither healthy nor fun, so I am doing my best to temper my expectations and not get drawn back in emotionally. Call me a lousy fan, call me weak - I'm just not sure I can undergo such trauma twice in one post season.

So now, I'm in the ever strange position of being mostly mentally resigned from the pursuit of 12 this June, but still donning the world's most disgusting, patchy, Irish neckbeard in honor of the Winged Wheel. I'm watching playoff hockey, and not throwing things through walls, or screaming at the television until I'm blue in the face.

Weird.

On top of that, J-Rock, who hadn't posted since early August 2010, without prodding posted here twice. In one day.

Again - weird.

Also in that category - I am currently finding myself supporting a guy like Sean Avery. A guy that if you asked me what I thought about him a couple of weeks ago, I'd probably use some not-very-nice words and suggest a few melodramatic random acts of violence. That's just the kind of guy I am.

Now, before I continue, this isn't really the type of issue I generally discuss here. Taking things seriously and talking about things that actually matter in the real world, as opposed to saying fuck a lot and over dedicating myself to a game, is not exactly my forte. I'm almost as out of place as Brett Lebda on the blue line. But, I have important things that need to be procrastinated, and this is an issue that I think is not only important, but fundamental to our society being able to progressively cointinue to pull its big stupid head out of its ass, so, here we go.

As you are likely aware, Avery has made a bit of press for himself lately by openly supporting something that should be pretty damn obvious to all of us by now, but sadly, is often not. Sean's joined a campaign to publicly support marriage equality. Now, this is the type of thing that really shouldn't capture headlines. Honestly, it would be nice to live in a world where reading that story in a newspaper would be akin to the front page of the Freep noting "Pavel Datsyuk Officially Pro-Puppies, Kitties, and Chocolate Chip Cookies" or DetNews heralding "Mike Babcock to Press: I'm Against Genocide." No brainers.

But, unfortunately, there's still a bit of a stigma to officially endorsing something so obviously right. That stigma showed itself this afternoon, when the Big Shot, Industry Leading, Superstar Agency that represents such dynamic and all-world talent like Chris Neil and the Panther's Scott Timmins (I know... try not to lose too much of your shit over that kind of star power) known as Uptown Sports sent out a tweet reading as follows:
@UptownSports Very sad to read Sean Avery's misguided support of same-gender "marriage".[sic] Legal or not, it will always be wrong. 
Ahem.

First, one must ask themselves - what the fuck is a C-level agent even bothering commenting on an issue like this for? What purpose, other than illustrating one's own extreme ignorance, does it actually serve?

But more importantly, how exactly is it that we still live in a society where not only do people continue to think in this fashion, but they feel justified in expressing those thoughts as objective opinions that are just as valid as the alternative argument?

Some have defended Uptown Sports decision to spout something that ignorant in that very way. "It's the other side of the coin. If Sean Avery can say he believes in marriage equality, then why can't Agent McFailure say he doesn't." In fact, the genius responsible for the message, Todd "likely 2 weeks from being exposed ordering young boys on criagslist" Reynolds, defended himself. He followed up on the official twitter account, indicating that his beliefs aren't hatred, bigotry, or intolerance and that he believes we are all equal.

No. No, that's not all.

"BUT," Mr. Reynolds says, "I believe in the sanctity of marriage between one man and one woman."

Well... that makes sense. He said he didn't hate people. It's kind of like saying "Just to be clear, I don't ever fucking use foul god damn language, because I fucking think it's super fucking disrespectful and classless as shit. Damn. Also, piss."

What Mr. Reynolds pea-brain fails to recognize, aside from how to get a client other than Mike Fisher that can actively contribute on a successful hockey team, is that the original message is hate. It's absolutely contradictory to suggest that we're all equal, but some of us are just intrinsically and immutably restricted from having the same rights and privileges as others. The fact is, there's a difference between expressing an opinion and the above message. This isn't like saying, "I like cherry, but I do not like grape," or "I think the United States has vastly underestimated the threat posed by packs of wild roving bears, and we are headed into a dark era, where we will be required to pay homage to our bear overlords by getting tattoos of Geraldo Rivera riding a zebra." Expressing the above "opinion" is an action. It is an action that seeks to maintain the status quo of inequality. It is direct participation in the exclusion and discrimination against gays. Period.

It's not an opinion. It's akin to declaring "I just don't think black people should be drinking from the same water fountains, is all!" It furthers hate and, as such, is an act. It's objective bigotry.

I'm not saying that people are wrong or evil to have that particular spiritual belief, in itself. I fundamentally disagree with it, and I think that most right-thinking people agree. However, everyone's entitled to their own spiritual decisions, and if they'd like to choose to believe in a god that values division over love - fine. Not gonna stop you there. But that whole "I believe in the sanctity of marriage between one man and one woman" thing? Keep that at your altar. Don't bring that out into the harsh sunlight of reality with you.

Nobody's suggesting that we should go find Mr. Reynold's pastor and force him to officially approve of same-sex nookie. Nobody's suggesting that we ought to make it illegal for to still think like it's the dark ages (when, by the way, dudes still fucked each other). You can have all the religious beliefs you want, but when you turn them into active discrimination by supporting policies of inequality - you are, objectively speaking, a bigot. You are, objectively speaking, practicing hate. It's not a valid opinion, and it's not OK.

Face it: allowing a group of people to have the same rights as the rest of us does not harm you in any way. It is not a zero-sum game; it does not remove any rights that you have, or take away from your quality of life. As Steve Miller would suggest, time keeps on tickin, tickin tickin. Your life will remain unscathed. You may disagree, but that's the nice thing about the society in which we live - you can keep on disagreeing to your hearts content. You just can't take away someone else's rights because you're uncomfortable with it. You'd think we would have learned this lesson by now.

A positive that comes out of this, though? Well, now players that refuse to play in any arena that allows women to wear pants, or for any organization that's ever hired someone who's Muslim or Jewish, have a go-to agent. That's a niche that surely needed to be filled. More importantly, however, the overwhelming majority of responses on the vast series of tubes comprising the interwebs has been right-on. Calling out bigotry to its face, and getting on board with... uh... Sean Avery. Good lord, that's still weird. I have to think that a few years ago, that would not have been the case.

It's a bright glimmer of hope giving us reason to fight through the uphill battle to do what in the past was considered impossible. A reason to not totally give up.

And you're damn right I brought it back around to something germane there. Game 6 at the Joe tomorrow. Anything can happen. I won't go so far as to say I expect it to - but I'll definitely be watching. Get loud, Hockeytown. Go Wings.

10 to 12.

8 comments:

  1. "You just can't take away someone else's rights because you're uncomfortable with it."

    This right here sums up everything perfectly.
    Thank you.

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  2. They say a picture is worth a thousand words and that may be true. But, you have the words to speak for thousands of people. You just said what tons of people were thinking, but couldn't find the right way to say it. Bravo buddy, Bravo.

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  3. How have you not landed a paid column yet? Really. This should happen. By the way....user request: I would like your personal draft of the Hockey Players Rights.

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  4. THANK YOU! I've just subscribed to your blog. Lifelong reader after that post.

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  5. Great blog commentary - your points are right on! Sorry to see more of Hockeytown isn't openly agreeing with you. Unfortunately, there are still many people who agree with Uptown/Reynolds - they are objective bigots toward gays (hell, towards blacks too). Keep up the good fight!

    GO WINGS!

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  6. David VanderheydenMay 11, 2011 at 3:54 PM

    "Your life will remain unscathed. You may disagree, but that's the nice thing about the society in which we live - you can keep on disagreeing to your hearts content. You just can't take away someone else's rights because you're uncomfortable with it. You'd think we would have learned this lesson by now."
    Exactly.

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  7. You couldn't be more correct. Being with the one you love regardless of sexuality is a basic human right. I don't care how offended you may be by marriage equality (what a strange thing, to be offended by equality) if you're not LGBT then it doesn't directly effect you. So why the fuck do you care? This is America, "land of the free" right? So why isn't everyone free to marry whom they please? It's just fucking ridiculous.

    I had to subscribe after this. Can't wait to read what more you have to say.

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  8. You hit the nail on the head my friend. You know, I have no clue who you are, but I consider you a friend... an ally as well. I am a member of the LGBTQIA community - I have a loving girlfriend and we plan on spending the rest of our lives together... It makes me angry to think that we have to choose wisely where we live so our future marriage will be recognized. I am very grateful that people like you exist to enlighten those who are still blatantly ignorant so that they one day can reverse what others before them had done out of sheer bigotry and evil. Thank you again for your eloquent post.

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