There weren't many players who were hated more than Sean Avery. His antics on the ice, as well as his behavior off of it, at least in the public eye, didn't create fuzzy feelings about him. However in a piece published by Avery for The Players Tribune, a hockey publication with content written by former and current players.
In Sean Avery's recent piece, he sheds some light on why he acted the way he did as an NHL player, and it might change your opinion about him. Avery says that his act was a way to be an effective player. His act was a mask he had to put on to keep his job.
It’s difficult to explain to a fan, but your life as a professional athlete is colored by uncertainty. You worry about making a bad play, taking a bad penalty, missing a golden chance to score a goal … I handled the pressure partly by inventing a character — the tough, ornery Sean Avery that you think you know — and I’d put his game face on before I left for the rink, and I’d take it off when I got home. It was my way of handling all the demands on us to win. And to keep my job. I needed people to hate me. I needed players to come after me in order to stay motivated.
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