With all the Plaxico talk there have been a lot of noteworthy events that have been glossed over, one of which ties in nicely with the recent suspension of Burress and juxtaposes the NFL with other leagues out there. Burress, of course, has been suspended by the Giants for conduct detrimental to the team. He got a four-game suspension for carrying a weapon illegally, a felony, and now has the players’ union fighting to get his suspension reduced. While all this has been happening a former New York athlete has also been suspended for conduct detrimental to the team.
Sean Avery, the former NY Ranger and current Dallas star was suspended by the NHL for comments prior to a game in Calgary about other players wanting his "sloppy seconds." The full story can be found here.
I know this is more of a hockey post than a football one, but the difference in league conduct and expectations is startling. Almost every day we are bombarded by NFL players talking trash, whether mic’d up on the field or sitting down with a member of the media. The NFL not only allows this talk, but basically encourages it. The NHL, a struggling league that has a national TV contract on what amounts to a regional cable network in Versus, is taking their version of TO or Chad Johnson, and not only silencing him, but possibly ending his career.
For those of you that don’t follow hockey, probably 95% or so based on TV ratings, Avery is a jerk. Always has been, probably always will be. But to suspend him indefinitely for this comment is ludicrous. The NHL is mired in poor management starting with Commissioner Gary Bettman and although the NFL may have gone too far in allowing their players to do and say nearly anything they want, the NHL has gone way too far in the other direction. If hockey ever wants to climb back into the national conversation and be recognized as a major sport once again, they need to move away from some of their overbearing policies for players, and allow them to be themselves and create an identity that has some crossover appeal.
Oakland at San Diego (-9.5)
Last Week: 7-9