"sloppy seconds"

Laurence Horn laurence.horn at YALE.EDU
Tue Dec 16 01:51:24 UTC 2008

At 5:02 PM -0500 12/15/08, Alice Faber wrote:
>Arnold Zwicky wrote:
>>a while back, but still of linguistic interest.  (pointed out to me,
>>separately, by Victor Steinbok and Jonathan Falk.)
>>first the story...
>>Avery suspended indefinitely for comments related to ex-girlfriends
>>ESPN.com news services
>>Updated: December 3, 2008, 6:29 PM ET
>>[Sean] Avery was punished indefinitely by commissioner Gary Bettman
>>for using a crude term about his former girlfriends now dating other
>>hockey players. Bettman acted within hours, in time to keep Avery out
>>of the Dallas Stars' game against the Calgary Flames on Tuesday night.
>>Avery's inflammatory line came following a morning skate in Calgary,
>>Alberta. Reporters were waiting to speak with Avery about disparaging
>>remarks he'd made last month about Flames star Jarome Iginla when
>>Avery walked over to the group and asked if there was a camera
>>present. When told there was, he said, "I'm just going to say one
>>"I'm really happy to be back in Calgary; I love Canada," the Ontario
>>native said. "I just want to comment on how it's become like a common
>>thing in the NHL for guys to fall in love with my sloppy seconds. I
>>don't know what that's about, but enjoy the game tonight." He then
>>walked out of the locker room.
>>Avery's ex-girlfriend, actress Elisha Cuthbert of the television show
>>"24" and the movie "Old School," is dating Calgary defenseman Dion
>>Phaneuf; she had been romantically linked to Mike Komisarek of the
>>Montreal Canadiens. Avery also dated Rachel Hunter, the former Sports
>>Illustrated swimsuit cover model and actress who is now the girlfriend
>>of Los Angeles Kings center Jarret Stoll.
>>then, of course, the apology (though not directly to the ex-
>>girlfriends or the players they are now dating)...
>>Stars LW Avery issues apology for televised comments about ex-
>>Associated Press
>>Updated: December 4, 2008, 1:22 AM ET
>>DALLAS -- Suspended Dallas Stars agitator Sean Avery flew to New York
>>on Wednesday for a meeting with NHL commissioner Gary Bettman, and
>>gave a likely sample of what he'll say by apologizing for comments
>>about his former girlfriends.
>>"I would like to sincerely apologize for my off-color remarks to the
>>press yesterday from Calgary," Avery said. "I should not have made
>>those comments and I recognize that they were inappropriate.
>>"It was a bad attempt to build excitement for the game, but I am now
>>acutely aware of how hurtful my actions were. I caused unnecessary
>>embarrassment to my peers as well as people I have been close with in
>>the past [possibly an indirect reference to the other players and
>>Avery's former girlfriends they dated].
>>"I apologize for offending the great fans of the NHL, the
>>commissioner, my teammates, my coaching staff and the Dallas Stars
>>management and ownership. As many of you know, I like to mix it up on
>>and off the ice from time to time, but understand that this time I
>>took it too far."
>>several things to comment on here, in particular the gravity with
>>which Avery's crude talk was treated by the NHL brass and the lameness
>>of the apology (though lame apologies like this one pretty much follow
>>a script, as we've noted many times on Language Log).  but my main
>>interest is in Avery's use of "sloppy seconds".
>I have no quarrels with the etymological info snipped below. As a hockey
>fan (well, to be honest, as a hockey junky), I just want to add that
>what got Avery suspended was more a pattern of behavior than simply this
>one instance. Immediately before he made these remarks, he'd told his
>coach that he wasn't going to speak to the media, and apparently he'd
>had repeated meetings with the commissioner about behavior issues. If
>this were the only blot on Avery's copybook, he'd not have been
>suspended; pleading no contest to spousal abuse doesn't get a player a
>suspension, for instance.
Within the game, he's known for being quite a pest.  In fact, it's
been claimed (on some sports blog I was reading) that Avery is the
only player of a major sport whose actions in a game one day that,
while legal, so antagonized everyone involved that a rule was created
the very next day to make the practice in question illegal.*  See e.g
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sean_Avery on the Sean Avery rule and
more than you ever wanted to know about Avery.


*When the dunk was ruled out of college basketball to make life
harder for Kareem Abdul-Jabbar (then Lew Alcindor) or the tees were
moved back to make golf harder for Tiger Woods or the lane was
widened so Wilt Chamberlain wouldn't be quite so dominant, none of
these were instituted the day after a specific action of the player
in question, and the new edicts were all designed to insure
competitive balance, not to outlaw bad sportsmanship.  So Avery's
legacy is assured, at least for now.  I don't except there will be a
sloppy seconds rule for suspensions, though.

The American Dialect Society - http://www.americandialect.org

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