The video: The fight for marriage equality just got its first-ever endorsement from a professional New York athlete. Sean Avery, a forward for the New York Rangers, has released a video voicing his support for same-sex marriage. (Watch the clip below). Avery — whose on-ice aggression has earned him plenty of penalties, as well as the unofficial title of the National Hockey League's most hated player — has inverted macho stereotypes with the move. "Committed couples should be able to marry the person they love," he says in the video, part of the New Yorkers for Marriage Equality campaign, which has also scored endorsements from the likes of Julianne Moore and Bill Clinton.
The reaction: This is a good cause, but "you can bank on fans trying to find a way to make this an example of Avery being 'classless'," says Adam Herman at Blue Line Station. No, that's a stretch, says Greg Wyshynski at Yahoo! Sports. Polls show a majority of Americans now support same-sex marriage, and Avery's willingness to go on the record is "inspiring." "While Avery may be hated across the league," says Donald Wood at Bleacher Report, "it's good to see someone standing up and doing what he thinks is right, no matter what the consequences are." Watch the video: