After Hockey Player Supports Marriage Equality, An Agent Responds with Bigotry

I love those stories where sports and religion collide. I’m not used to seeing it in hockey, though.

in case you haven’t heard, the New York Rangers’ trash-talking player Sean Avery recently issued a public service announcement in favor of marriage equality:

It’s a great message and it’s nice to hear it from an athlete, especially given the sense of homophobia in major league sports. (Quick! Name an openly gay professional athlete!)

Anyway, that led agent and vice president of Uptown Sports Todd Reynolds to tweet these thoughts (read from the bottom up):

Very sad to read Sean Avery’s misguided support of same-gender ‘marriage’. Legal or not, it will always be wrong.”

To clarify. This is not hatred or bigotry towards gays. It is not intolerance in any way shape or form. I believe we are all equal…

But I believe in the sanctity of marriage between one man and one woman. This is my personal viewpoint. I Do not hate anyone.

Got that, everyone? We’re all equal, but some of you don’t deserve the same rights that Todd Reynolds has.

(In case you were curious, Reynolds is Christian. Surprise!)

In case his statement wasn’t despicable enough for you, his own father jumped into the fray and made it all worse:

His father and partner in Uptown Sports, Don Reynolds, said, “The majority, I think, of Canadians would say that they don’t agree with gay marriage — that man and woman were created to be married, not man and man or man and horse, you know?

Those man and horse marriages are *so* ruining Canada for everyone else…

At least we now know where the younger Reynolds gets it from.

Reynolds is an agent. He’s not a politician. He’s not making laws. He’s just a bigot. Should we really care what he thinks? Maybe not.

But just think of the statement it would make if his current clients dropped him because of what he said. Joe Yerdon at ProHockeyTalk writes:

Uptown Hockey represents a handful of NHL players right now. Andrew Brunette, Carlo Colaiacovo, Jonathan Bernier, Kyle Clifford, and perhaps most notably right now Nashville’s Mike Fisher. A sports agent, or agents in this case, using the company name to flaunt their personal politics seems like the kind of thing that would rankle a player who may not agree with those personal politics. Bringing that sort of attention on a player seems like the sort of thing that would be a bad business decision, never mind in the view of public relations.

Even if the Reynolds and their ilk are against gay “marriage,” there’s no reason they should oppose equal rights for gay couples, right? Reader Nic writes:

Believing in the “sanctity of marriage” should never be an acceptable public excuse for standing against same-gender unions; in fact, I can’t believe he and others like him still get away with it.

They get away with it because not enough people speak out against it — especially moderate Christians who don’t want to “start trouble.” If they began making a bigger deal about this in their churches, you can bet things like this wouldn’t happen nearly as often as they do now.

  • http://www.youtube.com/deamoncohln Deamon Cohln

    Just before anyone starts to go on about how hockey is a sport of bigots, homophobes and assholes I want you all to read the story of Brendan Burke

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Brendan_Burke

    Please don’t think that this one agent represents our entire sport. I have played this game my entire life and there were only a few occasions where discrimination came into play. I was an out atheist and felt no pressure.

    On the ice, you may hear some dudes using slurs and other emasculating terms thrown around. These are spur of the moment, on ice tactics.

    Sean Avery is actually one of the most hated players in the NHL, not for his views, but his on-ice activity which if you have seen is sort of justified. There has not been very many people attacking this stance he has taken and are actually supporting Avery for this.

    the relative silence from the rest of the league is not a symptom of homophobia, but just something that happens in hockey. Most players don’t speak out on a lot of issues because they are taught to focus on the game and not represent the team badly.

    On twitter, we have openly reamed this idiot who used his connection to the game to flaunt his bigotry. We will deal with them.

    As my coach once told me “Leave it on the ice, don’t take it home.”

  • Jim

    Man, that guy needs to go fuck himself. Seriously. “I’m not a bigot but really that guy shouldn’t be talking about same sex marriage because that’s wrong.” FUCK HIM. Let me meet him somewhere with his bigotry, I have a cross-check with his name on it.

  • Iason Ouabache

    (Quick! Name an openly gay professional athlete!)

    Richard Jefferson. John Amaechi.

  • http://atheos-godless.blogspot.com Barry
  • ACN

    Ahhh a variation on the classic formula.

    1) “I’m not a racist but….”
    2) Say something really really really racist.
    3) Profit.

  • Adam

    Proof that knowing history to stop it from repeating doesn’t work. In the 50s and 60s, blacks were “equal” but not entitled to the same rights and privileges as whites. That’s civil rights, right?

  • Kaylya

    His father and partner in Uptown Sports, Don Reynolds, said, “The majority, I think, of Canadians would say that they don’t agree with gay marriage — that man and woman were created to be married, not man and man or man and horse, you know?”

    Not according to the most recent poll I can find, which has 61% supporting Gay marriage. And while we just elected the party most likely to try and change something, I do not believe that it is on their radar.

    The ones from 2004ish (i.e. when some provinces had declared it legal and the Supreme Court was looking at it federally), results on a yes/no question were pretty equally split, while a clear majority supported extending at least *some* legal rights.

  • Markus Hietala

    I have to say I´m really (pleasantly) surprised by this video. Also, Sean Avery is now my favorite hockey player in the world. :D

  • BrentSTL

    Hement, a few things: First off, I’d also take a look at the story of Toronto Maple Leafs GM Brian Burke and his late son, Brendan, who died last year in a car crash in Indiana. Brendan was openly gay and his dad – the GM of one of the most well-known teams in all of Canada – supported him, even marching with him in Toronto’s Gay Pride Parade in 2009. Here’s Brendan’s Wikipedia bio: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Brendan_Burke

    Here’s a take on the whole thing from The Hockey News’ Adam Proteau: http://www.thehockeynews.com/articles/40282-Proteau-Sean-Averys-gay-marriage-stance-fans-attack-on-agent-shows-evolution-in-NHL-community.html

    And finally, a commentator at Canada’s Rogers SportsNet, Damian Goddard, made a few tweets in support of Reynolds and wound up getting fired from the network: http://www.thehockeynews.com/articles/40281-Rogers-Sportsnet-fires-onair-host-over-tweets-regarding-samesex-marriage.html

    In my opinion, Avery’s one of the biggest on-ice jerks in the NHL; he loves playing the agitator. But on this issue, he’s very much spot-on.

  • Cortex

    Gotta love the old argument that if you believe it hard enough, it’s not immoral/false/immature.

  • http://madhominem.wordpress.com Mad Hominem

    It’s easy to say you’re not intolerant if you don’t understand what tolerance is.

    “I believe we are all equal…” as long as we have the same nonsensical moral standards. “This is my personal viewpoint.” So I’m going to interfere with people who live out their own personal viewpoints that don’t really affect my life.

  • jason

    As a follow-up to this story, A broadcaster on Rogers Sportsnet in Toronto was fired for Tweeting his support of Reynolds.

    “TV host fired over Sean Avery debate” –
    http://sports.espn.go.com/new-york/nhl/news/story?id=6532954
    (the video in the link is related but not about the article)

    The broadcaster was Damian Goddard. See his relevant Tweets here: http://twitter.com/#!/heydamo

    This is the one that got him fired:

    “I completely and whole-heartedly support Todd Reynolds and his support for the traditional and TRUE meaning of marriage.”

    Then after he was fired and the blow-back started. He tweeted this:

    “It is times like these when I am so thankful for my Roman Catholic faith. I would be COMPLETELY lost without it…. oh, and another thing”

    This is the most telling for me. LOL @ “COMPLETELY lost without it”. What a sad pathetic God-bot he is. I’m sure we’re all shocked he’s a roman Catholic.

    Good riddance Damian Goddard.

    PS – sorry I dont know how to link to directly or embed the tweets like I’ve seen some people do in comments

  • http://iwanttobeagaydad.wordpress.com Alan E.

    There was actually a large backlash against these two guys. I’ll have to find the link, but even more publicity came of this because if these two, and they come out the lesser.

  • Brian

    Until VERY recently, these same types of christ-tards hated black-white marriage and forbade it by law. “Unnatural” they called it.

    When a christian uses his religion to make law, he/she should be impeached, removed from office, and forbidden ever to hold public office again. Reason: treason against the constitution (which forbids the intermingling of church and state.)

  • jose

    “I don’t hate them, I just think they shouldn’t have the same rights!”

    Ain’t that beautiful. I only wonder what would he do if he did. Chasing them around town with an axe or something.

  • Ibis

    Still unsure whether this makes up for his racist and misogynist comments in the past, but gotta give him praise for coming out on the right side in this one.

    As for Fisher, somehow I don’t think Mr. I-married-ms-jesus-takes-the-wheel is going to rush out and make a stand against his agent.

  • http://hewhothinksaloud.blogspot.com Emaj Cirtap

    I think all people are equal, but I don’t think blacks should have the same rights as whites. Oh, but I’m not a racist.

    Wow, this sounds very familiar.

  • Pem

    It’s like the whole day of truth the evangelicals try to preach. I was part of a movement on a website (small battle but whatever) fighting against it. The day of truth is their way of fighting against the famous Day of Silence. They kept posting about love love love while basically saying it’s wrong to be gay.

    You can say you love them all you want but actions always speak louder than words. Denying someone who is gay the right to be happy just because you don’t like it is hate.

    Also, comparing homosexuality to beastiality… that is really sad on their part.

  • http://spaninquis.wordpress.com/ Spanish Inquisitor

    Man and horse marriage? Since when did marriage become a non-human issue?

    All animals mate, but we’re the only ones who seem to need a ritual before we do so.

    Maybe we AREN’T a higher species.

  • Fundie Troll

    Even if the Reynolds and their ilk are against gay “marriage,” there’s no reason they should oppose equal rights for gay couples, right?

    Uh, did I miss something? Where in this article does anyone condemn equal rights for gay couples? I don’t see anyone speaking out against same-gender unions (although I see a quote from a reader Nic who ASSUMES that Todd Reynolds and his father are opposed to same-gender unions).

    Makes me wonder if you actually read these articles before you start spewing your anti-christian rhetoric…

  • Rabid

    Uh, did I miss something? Where in this article does anyone condemn equal rights for gay couples? I don’t see anyone speaking out against same-gender unions…

    “Very sad to read Sean Avery’s misguided support of same-gender ‘marriage’. Legal or not, it will always be wrong.”

    Saying supporting same-sex marriage is misguided and wrong would logically imply he DOESN’T support same-sex marriage and therefore DOESN’T support equal rites for gay couples. Is it really that hard to understand?

  • fiddler

    @fundie troll
    Reading isn’t your strong suit, is it?

    Very sad to read Sean Avery’s misguided support of same-gender ‘marriage’. Legal or not, it will always be wrong.”

  • ckitching

    The Onion tries to be ridiculous, but fails…
    Breaking: Anti-Gay Congressman Caught In Affair With Horse

    So, is there something that Don Reynolds needs to tell us about?

  • AxeGrrl

    All I can say is….WOW!

    I cannot believe that this is Sean Avery we’re talking about here :) The guy has proved himself to be a d***, on and off the ice, over the years…..

    But he’s definitely gained my (shocked) respect for this :)

  • CanadianNihilist

    It doesn’t make hockey suck any less though.

  • Fundie Troll

    @ Rabid

    Saying supporting same-sex marriage is misguided and wrong would logically imply he DOESN’T support same-sex marriage and therefore DOESN’T support equal rites for gay couples. Is it really that hard to understand?

    You’re assuming if someone doesn’t support GAY MARRIAGE then they are automatically opposed to equal rights for gay couples.

    Many people opposed to gay marriage are not opposed to same-sex couples enjoying the same benefits as traditional married couples. They just don’t want it called “marriage”…

  • Steve

    Then they aren’t equal rights. Civil unions are only a stop gap measure, but they don’t have the same rights even at the state level. New Jersey showed that. Companies there didn’t put them on the same level as marriages for example and some people had problems getting them recognized at various places. Never mind that CUs, even with DOMA gone, don’t receive any federal benefits with the way the laws are now.

    Things are a bit different in the UK where civil partnerships are indeed equal to marriage, but that’s simply not the case in the US.

    On the other hand it shows that things are progressing. 10 years ago Civil Unions were radical. Today they are the compromise position.

  • http://madhominem.wordpress.com/ Mad Hominem

    @ Fundie Troll:

    Marriage in modern times has only been tied to the legal system for a few hundred years, has not always been hetero-only, and (quite thankfully) has never been tied to a particular religion. I’m kind of surprised that the marriage equality movement hasn’t done more to highlight simple historical fact; it instantly invalidates the argument that “marriage is a sacred heterosexual institution as old as mankind (and needs the government to prop it up).”

    Also, the best response I have to people who argue against marriage equality, or say that civil unions are okay but marriages aren’t: “What about the other religious people who want to call it marriage?”

  • Ibis

    @Fundie “Separate but equal” isn’t equal. So yeah, people who are against same-sex marriage don’t support equal rights for gays.

    If social subgroups or individuals don’t want to participate in a same-sex marriage, fine. If they want to have their own special definition of marriage, fine. Catholics and Orthodox Jews (just as examples) already restrict who can marry and consider marriages which don’t meet their special standards not to be marriages. They also have special rules about divorce. We don’t allow them to make the rules for the rest of us.

    There are religious denominations and people who follow no religion who think that same-sex marriage is fine. Their definition of marriage is different from yours, but it’s also different from that of the Mormons and the Muslims. The secular government should ensure that we all have equal access to the institution of marriage as legislated by the state. There is no secular reason why the state should deny any two consenting, unmarried adults the right to marry.

    Oh, and anyone who advocates for “traditional marriage” is either a misogynist prick or an ignorant loon who’s never read a history book (or both).

  • AxeGrrl

    Fundie Troll wrote:

    Many people opposed to gay marriage are not opposed to same-sex couples enjoying the same benefits as traditional married couples. They just don’t want it called “marriage”…

    So what? they don’t own the term. They need to understand that and lose the attitude of presumptuous entitlement.

    Somone on another message board addressed this issue beautifully:

    they still won’t come up with a better reason than that it might bother the homophobes. But they never explain why homophobes being bothered should trump gays being bothered


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