The NHL released a statement expressing respect for players who distance themselves from the politicized Pride flag, and woke sports reporters are losing their minds.
On Tuesday night, Ivan Provorov of the Philadelphia Flyers refrained from stepping onto the ice during warmups while his teammates donned LGBT Pride-themed jerseys.
After the game, in which Provorov logged over twenty minutes of ice time, the Russian defenseman confirmed he chose not to partake in representing the Pride flag because of his religious beliefs.
After speculation about how the league would react quickly mounted, the NHL released a statement.
“Players are free to decide which initiatives to support, and we continue to encourage their voices and perspectives on social and cultural issues,” the league said Wednesday.
Provorov’s coach John Tortorella (Torts), praised him for being true to himself.
Torts has previously said he would bench a player who didn’t stand for the national anthem.
But Provorov and the NHL received their fair share of backlash as well. TSN’s Gord Miller said that the Flyers should have benched Provorov for the game.
Miller later prohibited Twitter users from responding to his tweet, claiming “a few bigots hijacked the comments to spread hate.”
On the NHL Network, a sports analyst said Provorov should assimilate into Western society, or otherwise, he should go back to Russia and fight in the war with Ukraine.
The most dramatic reaction by anyone was probably Sid Seixeiro of Breakfast Television. Seixeiro, the former co-anchor of Sportsnet’s ‘Tim and Sid,’ said the Flyers should fine Provorov “a million dollars for this, I’m not kidding.”
Last year, at least 5 players on Major League Baseball’s Tampa Bay Rays opted out of wearing Pride-themed jerseys.
Like Provorov, the players cited their personal beliefs for doing so.