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The New York Islanders have announced they will not be wearing rainbow warm-up jerseys or using rainbow tape for their upcoming Pride Night scheduled for Thursday night.
This makes them the latest team to forego making their players wear rainbow jerseys meant to show support for the LGBTQ community.
However, this doesn’t mean that the team will not be holding a Pride Night when the Vancouver Canucks roll (perhaps, more accurately, limp) into town on Thursday. While the players won’t be throwing on sweaters or using tape, the team will be making donations to a pair of LGBTQ charities. These include LGBT Network and the New York Gay Hockey Association.
While there will be other Pride Night-related initiatives, the team said the jerseys won’t be worn due to a policy against wearing specialized warm-ups. The only exceptions are league-mandated ones for Hockey Fights Cancer, the military, and St. Patrick’s Day.
Did The Islanders Play This One Right?
Last month, the hockey world was buzzing about Pride jerseys during warm-ups and/or their absence thereof. It started with Flyers defenseman Ivan Provorov choosing not to take warm-ups in one of the team’s Pride Night sweaters.
This opened a massive dialogue about teams making players wear jerseys or patches that may go against the player’s personal beliefs.
It became such a hot-button issue. that it now seems teams don’t want to touch it. When the New York Rangers held their Pride Night, the team took to the ice sans rainbow jerseys and tape. However, that decision was not announced beforehand.
I think the Islanders may have found the middle ground on this issue. They’re showing appreciation for their fans in the LGBTQ community and making donations on behalf of the organization.
The big difference is that they’re not putting their players in a position where they will have to either a). make a decision that goes against their belief system or b). deal with the leftwing backlash.
While this really should please most parties, it won’t. Take the Ivan Provorov situation for example. The mob zeroed in on the one guy who didn’t wear the ribbon instead of the 20 guys who did.
Nothing is ever enough. The Islanders seem to have made a more than sensible decision on how to navigate these waters.
Still, they’ll need to brace for some gripes from the loudest and most delusional people on the fringes.
Follow on Twitter: @Matt_Reigle