Rangers forward Sean Avery adjusts his equipment after fighting with Canadiens defenseman Alexandre Picard at the Bell Centre in Montreal, Que., Feb. 5, 2011. (SHAUN BEST/Reuters)
Ontario-based player agency Uptown Sports Management, whose clients include Chris Neil of the Ottawa Senators and Mike Fisher of the Nashville Predators, publicly criticized New York Rangers forward Sean Avery for his stance on gay marriage.
"Very sad to read Sean Avery's misguided support of same-gender 'marriage'. Legal or not, it will always be wrong," vice-president Todd Reynolds posted on the company's Twitter page.
"To clarify. This is not hatred or bigotry towards gays. It is not intolerance in any way shape or form. I believe we are all equal," a later posting said, followed with, "But I believe in the sanctity of marriage between one man and one woman. This is my personal viewpoint. I do not hate anyone."
Reynolds' comments come days after Avery appeared in a video endorsing the legalization of same-sex marriage in the state of New York. The Human Rights Campaign, which released the video online, touts the Rangers as "the first professional sports team to actively promote marriage equality."
The Human Rights Campaign is "America's largest civil rights organization working to achieve lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender equality," according to their website.
Reynolds defended his tweets Monday during an appearance on TSN Radio 1050.
"There's certainly a voice for the other side on this particular issue. I was merely responding to be the other voice," he said. "I believe in standing up for what you believe in. I'm passionate about what I believe in. And I believe in morality and I believe in right and wrong. I know many people with different view points for what is right and wrong."
Asked if his comments might affect the company's relationship with its clients, Reynolds said if they don't like his opinion both sides will just have to agree to disagree.
"I've already been asked, 'What if some of your clients don't agree with this decision?' Well, that's fine. We're going to disagree on all kinds of issues in life. But we have to be able to talk about them.
"If Mike Fisher or any other client of ours agrees or disagrees, is of no consequence. Nor should they feel the need to comment on it. But I feel Sean Avery or any other player can comment on one side of the discussion ... why can I not comment on it as well?"