NHL player Ivan Provorov of the Philadelphia Flyers today refused to wear an LGBTQ+ themed rainbow jersey during warmups ahead of the team’s game against the Anaheim Ducks.
Provorov cited his Russian Orthodox Christian faith as the reason for not partaking in the team’s “Pride Night” display.
“I respect everybody’s choices,” Provorov said after the game. “My choice is to stay true to myself and my religion. That’s all I’m going to say.”
Watch Proporov’s interview on Spreely.video:
Provorov decided not to skate with other members of his team during warmups as they wore the rainbow jerseys, but did participate in the game.
Flyers coach John Tortorella defended his Russian player when asked about the decision by reporters. “With Provy, he’s being true to himself and to his religion,” Tortorella said.
In a statement released by a Flyers spokesperson, the team maintains that they are supportive of LGBTQ+ rights and organizations.
“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 statement reads.
The NHL released a statement defending Provorov’s decision, noting that players are not forced to support social or cultural initiatives.
“Players are free to decide which initiatives to support, and we continue to encourage their voices and perspectives on social and cultural issues,” the NHL said.
Liberals online are upset that the Russian player refused to divulge in the LGBTQ+ display.
“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,” tweeted Steph Driver. “What an absolute disgrace.
“Provorov really found his people yesterday with his lack of inclusiveness. The vileness coming from that group is why we have Pride night and why it is so important,” tweeted user @HeatherOpines.
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This news and commentary by Andrew White originally appeared on Valiant News.