NHL player’s obscene gesture during game

Isles defenseman James Wisniewski gestured that Sean Avery, well, likes to do a certain act while in the company of other men. Suspensions and fines sure to follow. Here’s the video.

It’s almost certain that the NHL will fine the Islanders’ player and possibly suspended him after that cheesy reaction to Avery giving his goalie a ‘snow shower’.

I don’t condone the gesture, unless you are one of those easily offended, Ivy League, gender politics majors, I know that most of us, even if we don’t say it, are laughing a bit on the inside, or at the very least, finding some kind of cosmic justice in Wishewski’s gesture.

Avery is still the guy, who made the most ballyhooed call-out of another players sexual relation in NHL history. Avery’s ‘sloppy seconds’ comment about how Elisha Cuthbert was dating defenseman Dion Phaneuf after he had already had sex with her put the NHL on the map for that week and was the league’s rimshot heard round the world.

I thought the NHL overreacted to Avery’s ‘sloppy seconds’ comment and they will probably do the same in this case as well.

Wisniewski’s gesture might have brought some to laugh but others will write emotionally laden letters to Gary Bettman imploring him to, ‘think about the children.’

In the end no one was injured by this act so should we really be suspending players for being disrespectful?

Hockey is a sport that columnist Doug Larson called, “a form of disorderly conduct in which the score is kept.” Hockey players are at risk of being smashed through the glass, cut by a high speed knife (blade) if they are down and hooked in the eye. I know my workplace can be crazy, but do you think it a workplace like the NHL, where there are so


many occupation hazards, things could ever be sterile, even if we wanted it to be?

Absolutely not. So to me, we should not be surprised if some of the emotions from that environment produce, menacing and in this case, perhaps, offensive gestures directed at others.

And despite what those who don’t know hockey say about needing to clean up the sport, between the mockery and the fight, fans actually love this stuff. It gives the NHL an aura of ‘edge’ that some of the more popular sports like baseball just don’t have.

You can literally see just about any situation go down at an NHL game.  Even an Alexander Semin slapfight.

There has to be limits. Intentionally try to hurt someone you should get suspended and to say something offensive off the ice, and the NHL is well within their rights to suspend you because you clearly had time to think it through. However, in the heat of the battle, I think we should offer players a little more leeway in terms of what they can get away with.

Who among us hasn’t said someone who later wanted to take back in a high pressure moments. Who among us could even try to censor ourselves in one of those moments? Furthermore, if someone is paying good money to watch someone’s life, as we do for hockey players in the two-to-three hour time frame in which a game was played, would I even want to self-censorship? The answer is no.

From Jon Wensick winning a fight and then taunting the entire Minnesota bench to Ryan Clowe shedding fake tears for Jerome Iginla, hockey is built in part through these moments of naked emotion where nothing is held back.

Wisniewski had one of these moments. Was it rude? Yes.

Could it be offensive to some? Definitely.

Should he be fined or suspended for it? In my opinion he should not but with other leagues like the NFL coming down hard levying fines of up to $250,000 for much lesser gestures like ‘bird flipping’ we should expect the NHL to discipline Wisniewski as well.

Used with permission of the author.

Based in Washington, Michael Hoffman has covered D.C. sports for numerous publications. In addition to contributing to Sports Climax, he is currently the Washington Capitals and Washington Redskins columnist for Examiner.com.

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