John Tortorella Further Defends Ivan Provorov’s Decision Not To Wear A Pride-Jersey, Reflects On His Past Comments About Protesting The National Anthem

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While everyone in the media seems to be attacking Philadelphia Flyers’ defenseman Ivan Provorov over his decision not to wear a Pride-themed jersey, John Tortorella, his head coach, is continuing to defend his player.

Provorov did not participate in the Flyers’ warm-up skate on Tuesday night ahead of their meeting with the Anaheim Ducks. While the rest of his teammates took the ice in Pride-themed jerseys, Provorov remained in the locker room.

“I respect everybody, and I respect everybody’s choices,” Provorov said of his decision not to wear the LGBT-themed warm-up jersey. “My choice is to stay true to myself and my religion.”


During his postgame press conference, Tortorella explained that he had no issue with Provorov’s decision to not wear the Pride jersey.

“With Provy, he’s being true to himself and to his religion. This has to do with his belief and his religion. That’s one thing I respect about Provy: he’s always true to himself,” Tortorella said.

John Tortorella has continued to defend Ivan Provorov while he’s being crucified in the media. (Photo by Andy Lewis/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images)

Provorov’s personal decision to not wear the Pride-themed jersey and then Tortorella defending that decision predictably sent the liberal media into a frenzy.

Tortorella, however, doesn’t care nor is he backing down from his initial defense of his player.

Speaking with the media on Thursday ahead of the Flyers’ home game against the Chicago Blackhawks, Tortorella went to bat for Provorov again.

“Provy did nothing wrong,” Tortorella began. “Just because you don’t agree with his decision doesn’t mean he did anything wrong.”

“Provy’s not out here banging a drum against Pride Night. He quietly went about his business…”You asked me if I was going to bench him? Why would I bench him? Because of a decision he’s making on his beliefs and his religion?”

“Provy didn’t actively seek out and try to make a stand against it. He just felt he didn’t want to take warmup. I respect him for his decision.”

John Tortorella Reflects On His Past Comments About National Anthem Protests

Anyone who has been keeping up with the Provorov ‘incident’ across social media, those upset about Tortorella defending his player have brought up his past comments about players protesting the national anthem back in 2016.


Tortorella was Team USA’s coach at the World Cup of Hockey at the time and his son, Nick, was serving as an Army ranger. This was around the same time Colin Kaepernick began protesting during the playing of the anthem, and Tortorella didn’t want to see that happening among his own players.

“If any of my players sit on the bench for the national anthem, they will sit there the rest of the game,” Tortorella said in 2016.

Some in the media are trying to correlate Provorov not wearing a rainbow jersey to players protesting the national anthem and disrespecting the American flag.

Speaking about his comments from over six years ago, Tortorella understands he was wrong for making that threat to his players.

“I said the player would sit the rest of the game. I was wrong. I learned a lot through that experience,” Tortorella explained. “My feelings toward any type of protest to the flag, during the anthem, it disgusts me. To this day it disgusts me, it shouldn’t be done, those are my feelings. I can’t push those feelings onto someone else. So I was wrong in saying that back then.”

As far as the Provorov situation, Tortorella said he thought it turned out to be a great night for Pride Night and offered nothing but respect for the Flyers and how the franchise handled itself.

Written by Mark Harris


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  1. It’s funny how we went from a society that encourage tolerance towards those who are different to a society that requires that you celebrate their differences. So now, its not that you shouldn’t make fun of a fat person but that you must celebrate a fat person. I don’t really care who a person has sex with, but there is a reason why through most of history being homosexual was discouraged. Frankly it does not engender a healthy life style or typically result in offspring or strong families. This may be the reason it is being promoted today. The death of the family gives rise to the power of the state. Bottom line: Provorov shouldn’t be forced to celebrate something that his religion and his culture do not support.

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