Chicago Blackhawks To Forego Pride Jerseys Over Concern For Russian Players’ Safety

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The Chicago Blackhawks will reportedly not wear rainbow-colored warm-up jerseys for their upcoming Pride Night game against the Vancouver Canucks.

The reason? According to the Chicago Sun-Times, it all has to do with concerns for the safety of the team’s Russian-born players.

The Blackhawks have worn Pride jerseys in previous seasons. However, a new Russian law and the uncertainties around it are reportedly the reason for scrapping them.

In December, the Russian government passed a law making it illegal for Russians to promote “gay propaganda.” The ban applies to all forms of media including social media.

A source close to the team who spoke to the Chicago Sun-Times said that conversations with security officials over the uncertainty of the law. That in turn is reported to have led to an organizational call to not wear the Pride Jerseys.

The team currently has three players on their roster who are Russian or have family there. They are defenseman Nikita Zaitsev — who was born in Russia — Kazakh netminder Anton Khudobin, and Swiss-born Philipp Kurashev.

While the Pride jerseys are set to be scrapped, other Pride Night events will still take place.

Philadelphia Flyers defenseman Ivan Provorov’s decision to not wear a Pride jersey helped make the symbolic gesture a hotly debated topic. (Photo by Jeanine Leech/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images)

Pride Jerseys Have Become A Hot-Button Issue

Teams have been holding Pride Nights to acknowledge the LGBTQ+ community for years. This year, the rainbow-colored jerseys that are usually worn for warm-ups have gotten attention.

Philadelphia Flyers defenseman Ivan Provorov was the first to not wear one of the jerseys. The Russian-born D-man cited his religious and personal convictions for not wearing the jersey.

While this would be seen by many as a reasonable — and Constitutionally protected — personal decision, it sent left-wing reporters and analysts into an absolute tizzy.

Perhaps wanting to not force their players into similar situations several other teams — including the Rangers, Islanders, and Wild — scrapped their Pride jerseys altogether.

Meanwhile, the wildly-woke San Jose Sharks went ahead with theirs, and netminder James Reimer held out for religious reasons.

However, this is the first time — if these reports from the Chicago Sun-Times prove to be true — that a team has cited player safety as an issue.

The Chicago Blackhawks will reportedly not wear Pride jerseys due to concerns over the safety of their Russian players.
A rainbow-taped-stick blade for an NHL Pride Night. (Photo by Chase Agnello-Dean/NHLI via Getty Images)

Russian Players’ Safety Concerns Should Be Eye Opening

These reports should be eye-opening for progressives (they won’t be, but they should).

They should serve as a reminder that despite their best efforts to paint the United States as a country hell-bent on oppressing the LGBTQ+ community, are misguided at best.

Time and time again, we see countries pass anti-LGBTQ+ laws and the woke mob doesn’t bat an eye. It’s easy to fight oppression somewhere it doesn’t exist. It’s like punching the air.

If these people really cared about these issues they’d turn their focus to places like Russia or Uganda. The latter is working on a bill that would allow harsh penalties for people guilty of homosexual offenses. Harsh penalties like death or life imprisonment.

But they won’t. They’ll keep getting upset because a player didn’t wear a rainbow jersey. The reason doesn’t matter. It could be for religious reasons, or even simply because they just want to play hockey without peddling an agenda.

Even safety.

Meanwhile, there are real issues and real consequences at play, that go ignored.

Follow on Twitter: @Matt_Reigle

Written by Matt Reigle

Matt is a University of Central Florida graduate and a long-suffering Philadelphia Flyers fan living in Orlando, Florida. He can usually be heard playing guitar, shoe-horning obscure quotes from The Simpsons into conversations, or giving dissertations to captive audiences on why Iron Maiden is the greatest band of all time.

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  1. Wouldn’t mind a law like that existing here. Keep your homosexuality your own business, and stop trying to convert people to your secular church and indoctrinate children into believing that someone is special just because they’re gay.

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