In the wake of New York Rangers winger
Sean Avery's endorsement of gay marriage, Barry Melrose suggests
openly gay athletes would be a distraction.
The 31-year-old Avery recorded a video
released on Saturday for the Human Rights Campaign's (HRC) New
Yorkers for Marriage Equality campaign. The hockey player's
endorsement prompted Todd Reynolds, who represents several NHL
players, to message on Twitter: “Very sad to read Sean Avery's
misguided support for same-gender 'marriage.' Legal or not, it will
always be wrong.”
ESPN's Outside the Lines tackled
the controversy of homophobia in sports on Tuesday.
On the program, hockey analyst and
former coach Barry Melrose said that from the perspective of a
teammate or coach “you don't even want to think that [a player is]
gay,” and suggested that openly gay players would be a distraction
for the team.
“I think it's a problem that coaches
don't want to handle,” Melrose said. “I think it's something you
do as a coach – you try to solve all the problems – and if there
was an openly gay player in your [locker] room, all of a sudden you
have to handle that. You have to handle it with the press, you have
to handle it with the other players.” (The video is embedded in
the right panel of this page.)