The NHL over the past year has made a concerted effort to portray itself as America’s most woke sports league, even at the expense of player safety. On Tuesday night, however, an NHL player actually decided to take a stand against his own team’s effort to push the woke agenda.
Philadelphia Flyers defenseman Ivan Provorov, a devout Russian Orthodox Christian, refused to wear his team’s gay pride jersey Tuesday night. He explained that he made a choice to stay true to himself and his faith.
Provorov also made clear that he respects those who have a different view from him and did not elaborate further.
“I respect everybody and I respect everybody’s choices. My choice is to stay true to myself and my religion.”
Flyers defenseman Ivan Provorov on refusing to wear a rainbow jersey for warm ups during “Pride Night” due to his Russian Orthodox faith.
— Greg Price (@greg_price11) January 18, 2023
Here is the story from ESPN:
Philadelphia Flyers defenseman Ivan Provorov did not take the pregame skate on Tuesday night because he refused to wear the team’s LGBTQ+ Pride Night warmup jersey, citing his religious beliefs.
Provorov, 26, told reporters after the Flyers’ 5-2 home win over the Anaheim Ducks that it was his choice “to stay true to myself and my religion,” which he identified as Russian Orthodox.
“I respect everyone. I respect everybody’s choices,” he said.
Before the game, the Flyers wore Pride-themed jerseys and used sticks wrapped in rainbow tape, both of which are being auctioned off by Flyers Charities with proceeds going toward their efforts to grow the game in diverse communities
Provorov was the only Flyers player who didn’t have a jersey or a stick up for auction after the game.
The Flyers released a statement before Provorov’s postgame comments:
“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.”
The NHL had not released a statement on the matter as of Tuesday night.
Flyers coach John Tortorella said he didn’t contemplate scratching Provorov for not taking warmups.
“With Provy, he’s being true to himself and to his religion,” the first-year Flyers coach said. “This has to do with his belief and his religion. It’s one thing I respect about Provy: He’s always true to himself. That’s where we’re at with that.”
NHL “journalists,” unsurprisingly took a different view from Tortorella. They accused Provorov of hiding behind his religion to push intolerance and implied he should not have been allowed to play.
Ivan Provorov was allowed to play in a game for the Philadelphia Flyers – the organization that was the first to say that you will be removed from the arena if you utter a homophobic slur – after refusing to wear a Pride logo for warm ups.
What an absolute disgrace.
— Steph Driver (@StephaliciousD) January 18, 2023
But Provorov obviously does not respect “everyone”. If he did respect everyone, he would have taken part in warm-up and worn the Pride Night jersey. Don’t hide behind religion. https://t.co/Qk6dTgAnmP
— Pierre LeBrun (@PierreVLeBrun) January 18, 2023
Individuals willing to stay true to themselves and their religious beliefs deserve to be heard despite the wishes of the woke mob.