Thursday, September 29, 2011

League gives Simmonds free pass

Two days have passed since the controversy surrounding Wayne Simmonds and Sean Avery in a chaotic preseason match in Philly where emotions ran high. During scrums, a lot of stuff is said in the heat of battle. It was the heat of the moment cries a classic 80's Asia tune. Sometimes, it becomes personal. Perhaps Avery's threat on Simmonds' Flyer teammate Claude Giroux pushed the former King over the edge. Whatever the reason, Simmonds appeared to have crossed the line if what Avery said was true.

Homophobic overtones have no business in athletics or in the real world. They're just as offensive as the ridiculous banana peel tossed in Simmons' direction during an exhibition in Longon, Ontario a week ago. All the more ironic that the same player would be involved in two incidents that couldn't be anymore different. Following the latest gutless ruling from Colin Campbell, the thing that gets us is the lasting image of Mr. Simmonds never denying Mr. Avery's accusation following the Flyers' 5-3 win at Wachovia Center.

"I can't remember what I said," the newest Flyer told reporters afterwards while later adding, "I might've said some things he didn't like. ... It's Sean Avery, come on, now."

As if that's reason enough for the rumored slur he's accused of. Of course, 24 hours later he suddenly remembered like a light switch flipping when the gullible Campbell came calling. Simmonds did nothing wrong. So, it's over with! Why take serious something so offensive that GLAAD asked the NHL to take action? Nah. Only unless they're making the 100th tweak to rules post-lockout. As Martin Brodeur echoed regarding all the suspensions, this is what you get these days from a circus which would make Charles Wang proud. But Campbell hinted they could revisit the case. And perhaps I can date Rihanna someday. So, you're saying there's a chance?!?!?!?!?!

Over the past two days, we've seen rhetoric like Simmonds so misguided that it's left us speechless. 'Avery had it coming.' Yada, yada, yada. We get it. Avery's no angel as past evidence points. Elisha Cuthbert and Dion Phaneuf not withstanding, for all the theatrics of No.16, he's never been suspended since that foolish episode before a Stars-Flames match that earned him half a dozen games and even NHL counseling before returning to Broadway for Act II. But it's Avery and he's the saddest excuse for a player. Are there things I don't like about him? Absolutely. I'm no fan of ducking challengers. Better known as turtling. Sometimes, he gets carried away, which is not something I want from any Ranger. When he's finishing checks of which are clean unlike a few scums that shall remain unnamed, along with skating and forechecking vigorously, Avery's a valuable commodity capable of drawing penalties and driving the opposition batty. That's what we got the other night. He gives away the puck a lot and isn't consistent, which is why I remain objective when it comes to his standing. John Tortorella should use him as he sees fit.

I heard people on Twitter accuse him of saying exactly what Simmonds supposedly did. So, now we're assuming based on who he is? Come on. Every player should get a fair shake. Let's make one thing clear. I never expected a suspension. However, a hefty fine would've been enough, which Simmonds could've donated to GLAAD or a similar charity for awareness. Instead, we're left wondering again what it'll take for the league to show some balls.

Fans can continue hating Avery and even cheering an injury like some classless Flyer fans did after he blocked a shot. This is bigger than him. It's a serious issue that happens too much in society. There's no excuse. Showing respect and common decency is how I was raised. Treat others the way you want to be treated. Yes. There'll continue to be trash talk as long as there are sports. There are kids watching. Sometimes, it can go too far, which is the likely scenario that played out. The NHL had a chance to do something right and failed. If only it were a surprise.

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