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NHL comes out in support of player who boycotted his team's gay pride jersey

Max Sherry

| Last updated 

NHL comes out in support of player who boycotted his team's gay pride jersey

The NHL has chosen not to condemn Ivan Provorov after the Philadelphia Flyers star refused to turn up to his team's warm-ups following yet another pride jersey debate.

Provorov decided to boycott Philadelphia's practices after he disagreed with the team's decision to have its players wear rainbow-coloured jerseys in support of the LGBTQIA+ community.

Credit: Alamy
Credit: Alamy

Given the push-back about the jerseys, the Flyers ended up switching back to their normal kits and Provorov subsequently played.

"I respect everybody and I respect everybody's choices," the 26-year-old said after the game.

"My choice is to stay true to myself and my religion. That's all I'm going to say."

Despite to get more out of him, reporters poked and prodded but Provanov refused to fold.

To one journalist he replied: "Like I said, that's all I'm going to comment on that. If you have any hockey questions I would answer those."

And to another reporter he responded: "Did you not hear what I just said? Can you respect that?"

Provanov, a devout Russian Orthodox Christian, also received the support of the NHL.

Hockey's governing body seemingly backed his actions, releasing a statement saying: "Players are free to decide which initiatives to support, and we continue to encourage their voices and perspectives on social and cultural issues."

Flyers head coach John Tortorella also came out in defence of his player, adding: "It's one thing I respect about Provy. He's always true to himself. And, so, that's where we're at with that."

The announcement of a pride jersey was met with a mixed reception from Flyers fans with some liking it and others seemingly angered by the move.

Prior to the occasion, the franchise said: "The Philadelphia Flyers organization is committed to inclusivity and is proud to support the LGBTQ+ community. Many of our players are active in their support of local LGBTQ+ organizations, and we were proud to host our annual Pride Night again this year. The Flyers will continue to be strong advocates for inclusivity and the LGBTQ+ community."

This recent incident in Philadelphia has strong similarities to one in Manly over in Australia.

Professional rugby league side the Manly Sea Eagles became embroiled in a similar pride jersey saga where several players refused to wear the one-off rainbow LGBTQIA+ strip.

Unlike the NHL, the NRL and the wider rugby league community largely condemned the boycotting Sea Eagles players.

Even the club themselves were slammed for the way they handled the sticky situation.

The players in question were ultimately stood down and Manly ended up wearing the jersey for one match.

Featured Image Credit: Alamy

Topics: Ice Hockey

Max Sherry
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