Flyer Fights: Sestito's Gonna Get a Shanny; Avery's Threats, Simmonds Uses Slur

Flyer Fights: Sestito's Gonna Get a Shanny; Avery's Threats, Simmonds Uses Slur

The preseason's not even over yet, and the Flyers are in all likelihood about to have their second player suspended. Jody Shelley was the first to receive a detailed video explanation by new disciplinarian Brendan Shanahan, and I'll be shocked if Tom Sestito doesn't join him tomorrow. In the first period of what would become a rough preseason tilt between the Flyers and the New York Rangers, Sestito took a few full strides before smearing Andre Deveaux from behind, starting a near line-brawl.

Unfortunately, amidst an increasingly rough game, Sean Avery says Wayne Simmonds used a homophobic slur when the two were battling. Katie Strang relayed that news from Avery, and it appears to be the case in watching this video.

If that is indeed what Simmonds said, it's a terrible way to ruin any positivity he'd gain by mixing it up with Avery so early in his Flyers career. More importantly, it's a terrible follow-up to the hateful act Simmonds himself was a victim of just last week. Simmonds was responding to what we hear in the video below: Avery clearly saying he'll "kill Giroux" in retaliation for what other Flyers—namely Sestito—are doing. What we have here, from on the tight camera footage and on-ice mics, is a look at the hockey world we know exists but rarely see up close. When it goes to the living rooms though—and it increasingly will—the league and players will be forced to answer for it.

Both Simmonds' comment and Avery's were in a heated moment, and god only knows what these guys say to each other on the ice even in passing much less when they're ready to go at it. But increased media visibility is going to show more of this to the fans who are tuning in to watch hockey, and there's no question the league will feel compelled to do something about it. We know what Simmonds allegedly said is not uncommon on the playing surface, but it's long since time to put an end to that part of sports culture.

Say what you will about Avery on the ice, but he is one of the foremost advocates of gay rights
in all of sports. To my knowledge, it's his lone redeeming quality, as
evidenced by what you heard above, which is what he's spending most of
his on-ice time doing. After the game, Avery spoke out against what happened to Simmonds in London, Ontario, as well as what Simmonds said tonight.

"It is really disappointing," Avery said, in response to a line of questions focusing entirely on the incidents involving Simmonds. "First of all, who would do that? And why would you do it? It just such an unnecessary thing. It’s something that’s not even an issue with us or our sport. So to be here now and having to answer your questions about what he did is disappointing for me.”

Again, this is coming from the guy threatening metaphorical death but at least bodily harm to the Flyers' star, but on its own, the statement is hard to disagree with.

To his credit, Simmonds didn't want to talk about the on-ice exchange after the game and wouldn't confirm what he said, nor what Avery had said to him prior to it, but did say Avery sucker punched him and said something. “Honestly, we were going back and forth for a while. I don’t recall everything that I said to him. He said some things that I didn’t like and I said some things that he didn’t like. I don’t recall every single word I said." 

[Update: On Tuesday, Simmonds denied using the slur.]

While on the one hand you want to see the players handle their own business, and not dictate the media a transcript of the event, it's almost a moot point what they say in the locker room afterward. With today's access to the sights and sounds of the game, everyone already had the raw footage or soon would. The immediacy of videos being posted to Twitter and YouTube takes the steam out of the "it's just the way it is in hockey," and the logic supporting that argument was already on shaky ground. 

As for Simmonds... I'm glad that just barely into his career with the Flyers, he was so vehemently ready to go to war for a threatened teammate. I don't mind some trash talk either. But try to say something that gets under Avery's skin while not being hateful toward a community of people. It's not always easy to come up with something vicious yet PC, but you know you messed up when you've given Sean Avery the high ground on a night when he was being, well, Sean Avery.

First video via HockeyFights.com, second via SNY Rangers Blog.

It looks like Fletcher Cox is back in Philly for Round 2 of Eagles OTAs

It looks like Fletcher Cox is back in Philly for Round 2 of Eagles OTAs

The optics weren't great last week when Fletcher Cox skipped Eagles' OTAs just a year after signing a $100 million contract. 

We'll all probably forget about it soon enough though. 

Cox on Sunday night posted a photo to Snapchat that indicated he was back in Philadelphia, presumably to join the team for voluntary OTAs, which pick back up on Tuesday morning. (Bleeding Green Nation noticed the photo first and alerted the world.) 

And here it is for your own visual proof: 

OK then. 

During last week, Cox's missing was a big story, partly because it didn't look great and partly because it's May and there's not a whole heckuva lot else going on. 

And partly because Doug Pederson didn't seem too thrilled his star defensive tackle wasn't there. After pointing out that OTAs are indeed voluntary, Pederson said this about Cox: "Fletcher is one of the leaders on the football team and guys like that, you do expect to be here, but I get the rules, we abide by the rules and he's one of the guys too, at the end of the day, I'm gonna hang my hat on and go to war with."

Cox's return to Philadelphia jives with what ESPN's Tim McManus reported last week, that Cox was with family and was expected to be back this week.

Ultimately, Cox's absence probably won't mean much at all. The three other players missing last week were Jason Peters, Donnie Jones and Marcus Smith. 

This round of OTAs goes from May 30-June 1. Then June 5-6, 8-9. The mandatory minicamp is from June 12-15. Then there's a long break until training camp. 

Best of MLB: Mike Trout (thumb) leaves early as Marlins crush Angels

Best of MLB: Mike Trout (thumb) leaves early as Marlins crush Angels

MIAMI -- Mike Trout sprained his left thumb stealing second base Sunday, and the Los Angeles Angels took a thumping without him, losing 9-2 to the Miami Marlins.

Trout yelled in pain as he rose after sliding headfirst in the fifth inning. He was examined by a trainer, stayed in the game, but was replaced in the sixth. X-rays were negative, and there was no immediate timetable regarding his return.

The reigning American League MVP was 0 for 2 when he departed with the Angels trailing 4-2. He finished 2 for 9 in the series to drop his average to .337 (see full recap).

Aaron Judge hit first-career grand slam in Yankees' win
NEW YORK -- Aaron Judge hit his first career grand slam and the New York Yankees took full advantage of Oakland's shoddy defense Sunday in a 9-5 victory over the Athletics.

Michael Pineda (6-2) tossed six innings of three-hit ball to win his third straight start. Aaron Hicks and Chris Carter each had an early sacrifice fly as the AL East leaders scored five unearned runs and took two of three in a well-pitched series.

Judge connected with two outs in the third for his 16th home run, tying Mike Trout of the Angels for the big league lead. The drive landed in the right-field seats, not far in front of The Judge's Chambers cheering section installed by the Yankees for the start of this 4-2 homestand.

Khris Davis hit his 15th home run for the A's, who committed two more costly errors to raise their season total to 49. They began the day with 10 more than any other team in the majors.

The fielding failures put starter Andrew Triggs (5-4) in tough situations. He went six innings and gave up one earned run (see full recap).

Miguel Gonzalez loses perfect game in seventh, but pitches White Sox to win
CHICAGO -- Miguel Gonzalez took a perfect game into the seventh inning, Todd Frazier hit a two-run homer and the Chicago White Sox beat the Detroit Tigers 7-3 on Sunday.

Melky Cabrera and Matt Davidson also connected, helping the White Sox take three of four in the series. David Robertson got two outs for his seventh save.

Gonzalez (4-5) allowed three runs and six hits in 7 2/3 innings while snapping a five-start losing streak. The right-hander struck out six and walked none.

Gonzalez retired his first 18 batters before Andrew Romine led off the seventh with a hard one-hop liner to shortstop Tim Anderson, who couldn't field the ball cleanly and was originally charged with an error. Alex Avila followed with a single into to right field, and Romine's ball was later changed to a hit (see full recap).