Monday, August 1, 2011

Alex Frolov Accuses Sean Avery of Using Racial Slurs During Russian Interview

Update: Frolov Refutes Story, Claims Was Misquoted

To see an accusation made about Sean Avery is not all that surprising.  To see Alex Frolov who was teammates with Avery in New York and Los Angeles make the accusation about the man who is supposedly his friend is a little more so.  Frolov, in an interview with, was asked about playing with Avery and why he is such a lightning rod for controversy around the NHL.  The answer Frolov gave and the accusations that Avery used racial slurs against opponent’s will only add to the controversy that surrounds Avery. 

Slava Malmud of tweeted a translation of the key part of the Q&A from the full Russian text of the interview with Frolov.

(Avery) isn’t a fool. Lately he has become calmer, smarter. Before he’d get swept away with emotions and do something stupid. To mention each and every one of his stunts… Something always happens around him, it’s a part of his job. He needs to be talked about. He loves it, he feels at home in the spotlight. Sometimes he called opponents “black monkeys.” He did a lot of things, I can’t remember all of them.

There is never a time where a racial slur is allowed to be used and if Avery did in fact use them, then he is dead wrong for doing so.  What is unclear from Frolov’s interview is exactly when this was done, but the combination of Frolov talking about how before he would get swept away would lead me to believe this apparently happened back when they were together in LA.  That timeline would fit with the story that  George Laraque told back in 2005 that Avery had called him a “monkey,” though Avery denied the whole thing at the time.

As I said, any use of a racial slur is inexcusable, but the story that Frolov shares does not jive with the version of Sean Avery that has been on display since he got counseling and treatment a few years ago.  If Avery actually believed that he would likely still be doing similar things to this since the accusation by Laraque and someone would have said something about it publicly.  Also with his history with the NHL, any action like that from Avery that happened recently would be punished severely after the harsh punishment he got for his "sloppy seconds" remark about Dion Phaneuf that made the league order him into counseling.

What we do know publicly is that the new version of Sean Avery has spent his time an effort supporting both the idea of a gay professional in the NHL and pushing NY State to pass marriage equality this past year.  That doesn’t read like someone who is a bigot.  Maybe what Avery does now is to make up in part for transgressions he made before, but whatever the cause the man has become better and while we can spend time hating him for the man he was and things he did, maybe the time is better served believing people can change for the better. 

Instead what we will likely see is Avery supporters bash Frolov for either making up the story or sharing it publicly against a man he claims to be friends with and those who hate Avery will use this as another excuse to do so.  Both sides will have their justifications as Frolov saying this publicly six years later is weak and Avery having ever used a racial slur at all is wrong.