Star on Ice, or: Trying to Put Sean Avery's Suspension in Context
Below, as you can see, we've added the video containing the, um, sloppy remarks for which Dallas Star Sean Avery received his indefinite suspension last night from National Hockey League commissioner Gary Bettman. Meanwhile, back in New York, Newsday's Arthur Staples is among those calling out the commish and Stars owner Tom Hicks -- just "another hypocritical, clueless owner" who, moments after Bettman went ballistic, joined in the chorus of boo-hoos. So too have Avery's teammates, who've clearly grown weary of his circus act. Which is fine with folks like Staples, who wish Avery had never left New York in the first place and would love to have him back: "The Stars apparently need to be boring and mediocre. Fine for them."
But some context: Bettman and Avery's troubles date back at least three years, to the NHL lockout. In a comment that was widely circulated, then-Los Angeles King Avery said "his vision of a solution was for Bettman to be fired, then for player representatives to get in a room with all 30 owners, not just those viewed as hard-liners who are Bettman's biggest supporters," as the San Jose Mercury News put it on February 14, 2005. Avery also told The New York Times that with Bettman ousted, "Good faith would come to the table." It took Bettman three years to get his revenge, as Avery won't be able to play again till he meets with the commissioner -- which may happen tomorrow.
As for the suspension itself, well, that's just crazy, man. See for yourself after the jump, in our handy-dandy guide to Recent Dallas Sports Suspensions. No doubt it's woefully incomplete, but it does provide some context to the nonsense.
1993 Texas Rangers' Nolan Ryan gets no suspension or fine after beating the crap out of Robin Ventura on the mound. Ventura was suspended six games.
1996 Dallas Cowboys' Michael Irvin suspended five games for cocaine possession.
2005 Kenny Rogers, then with the Rangers, got 20 games for shoving two TV cameramen (shortened to 13 by an arbitrator who ruled MLB commissioner Bud Selig was too harsh).
2006 Dallas Mavericks' backup center DJ Mbenga suspended six games for leaving the court to back up Avery Johnson's wife in a fight with other fans.
2007 Rangers' Vicente Padilla suspended seven games for throwing at Nick Swisher.
2007 Mavs' Josh Howard suspended first two games of the year for fighting with the Kings' Brad Miller.
2008 Mavericks' Dirk Nowitzki suspended one game for flagrant foul on Utah's Andrei Kirilenko.
2008 Cowboys' Pacman Jones suspended four weeks for fighting with bodyguard in the Joule hotel bathroom. Will return to field this weekend against Pittsburgh.
(BONUS!) 2008 NY Giants' Plaxico Burress suspended four weeks, at least, for taking a handgun to a nightclub and shooting himself in the leg.
2008 Stars' Sean Avery suspended indefinitely for noting that Elisha Cuthbert and Rachel Hunter have a thing for dudes in breezer shorts. --Robert Wilonsky
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