I’m feeling a wee bit guilty

Update: You can carry on with hating Sean Avery without feeling even the slightest twinge of guilt for snarking at him. The attention whoring douchebag that hockey fans love to hate is, as advertised, a straight attention whoring douchebag who was just not-denying rumors because that’s what attention whores do, try to get attention.

Like all good celebrities who have something to promote, they probably dragged out the non-denial so that Watch What Happens Live got higher ratings for the season premier, and so that “Ask Andy” on bravotv.com got higher page hits when Andy Cohen finally got around to saying that no, they aren’t together and Sean Avery’s straight. On one hand, I suppose we could give Sean Avery a golf clap for leaving it to Cohen to debunk on his regular online Q&A rather than holding a Mike Piazzaesque press conference to announce his straightness, but nah, I’m sure he just likes it that this was the most anyone’s talked about him since the time he tweeted insults at John Tortorella.

And hey, I guess it’s progress when a retired male professional athlete, even one who’s as much of an attention whore as Avery is, lets people carry on for days thinking he’s engaged to a man. It’s a whole new era in celebrity attention whoring.

This whole thing is probably a sign that people have run out of things to talk about during the NHL off season. Speculating about the love life of a retired hockey player who no one much liked, based on internet rumors, is pretty much the epitome of not having anything real to talk about other than ugly sweater designs. In any case, the Internet has been busy speculating on whether one-time most hated man in hockey/former Vogue intern/professional attention whore Sean Avery is dating/engaged to Bravo TV’s Andy Cohen.

When I was reading Yahoo’s Puck Daddy blog and came across their story on the rumor and the ambiguous non-denials that might be jokingly mocking the rumors and might not, I’ll admit it, I was snarky about the whole thing. After all, we’re talking about the guy who once got himself suspended from the league for referring to Elisha Cuthbert as his sloppy seconds, and whose on ice antics caused the NHL to change their rule book just to stop him.

I’m feeling a bit guilty about being snarky and sarcastic though because, assuming the rumors are true, it’s basically being snarky and sarcastic about someone getting outed.

See, the unwritten rule of reporting celebrity gossip is that reputable celebrity gossip sites aren’t supposed to out people. Run thinly veiled blind items, yes, but actually outing someone is a big no no. The initial site that ran the story doesn’t fall into the “respectable celebrity gossip site” category, which makes it all rather odd that what are supposed to be respectable sites like Yahoo Sports decided to run something. It’s also especially odd that Lainey Gossip, which is considered to be one of the big reputable celebrity news and gossip sites, has a piece that’s going even farther with the speculation. And well, even though they don’t specifically say something like, “Sean Avery is gay and dating Andy Cohen,” they’re walking awfully close to that line, and judging by what people are tweeting, they’re taking those articles to mean just that.

I haven’t the slightest clue about whether Sean Avery is gay, straight, or bi. I always assumed that he was straight because his terrible reputation as douchebag locker room cancer could only be improved by coming out and letting everyone assume his douchiness was due to the pressure of the closet getting to him. It’s not like anybody knows for sure though since no active or retired NHL players have ever come out, and well, you can see why a player who has had obscene gestures and slurs directed his way might not conclude that coming out would help his reputation.

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–Joking? Serious? There are a number of these sorts of pictures on their respective instagram accounts

The bottom line is that if the rumors are true, it would make Sean Avery the first current or former NHL player to ever be out. And yeah, he’s retired now, but he’d still be the first and especially when someone is going to be the first, dragging them out of the closet is not cool. I don’t care how much of a douchebag attention whore who I loved to hate while he was playing that Sean Avery is, outing isn’t something you should do to your worst enemy. People deserve the right to come out on their own terms, and all the ambiguous Instagram hashtag hinting aside, there is no way that anyone can say that Sean Avery was out. If the story is true, then Sean Avery just got outed. That’s wrong. If Sean Avery is gay or bi, he should have been allowed to come out on his own terms. I wonder if he wasn’t so hated whether he would have been.

Of course, this is all a moot point if the rumors are false and he’s just the straight douchbag attention whore that everybody thought he was. In that case, he’s probably busy laughing at everybody. We don’t know though, which is why this should have been covered differently, or not at all.