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The NHL has released a statement after Philadelphia Flyers defenseman opted to skip warm-ups on Tuesday night instead of wearing one of the team’s Pride Night sweaters.
There has been an absolute deluge of left-wing rage over his choice, and the Flyer’s decision not to scratch him.
After the game, Provorov said that he was staying “true to myself and my religion.”
The Flyers didn’t sit him for the game against the Anaheim Ducks, and after the game head coach John Tortorella voiced his support of both the organization’s Pride Night and his defenseman’s strong values and belief systems.
Amid heavy (though largely toothless) backlash directed at the Flyers and Provorov, the NHL put out a statement detailing their commitment to their “Hockey Is For Everyone” initiative.
The NHL explained that “Hockey Is For Everyone” encompasses all diversity initiatives and that it’s up to the teams to decide “whom to celebrate, when and how.” The teams get support from the leagues on these initiatives.
However, note the final sentence: “Players are free to decide which initiatives to support, and we continue to encourage their voices and perspectives on social and cultural issues.”
That pretty explicitly says that players are allowed to make their own decisions on what causes to support.
Provorov exercised that right. End of discussion.
Did The NHL Learn A Lesson From Recent Forays Into Woke Politics?
It looks like there won’t be any supplemental discipline coming the Provorov’s — or the Flyers — way, nor should there be.
This is probably a smart call for the NHL. The league has recently found itself with egg on its face after trying to get into politics. Late last year, the league voiced its support for an all-transgender hockey tournament. The official social media account even went so far as to ignore the realities of biology.
That tournament ended with a biological male inadvertently injuring a biological woman in an on-ice collision. That led to tournament organizers clarifying their relationship and creating distance between themselves and the NHL.
The league also recently came under fire for promoting a job fair in Fort Lauderdale that was only open to people belonging to certain groups. That LinkedIn post promoting it was removed after Florida governor Ron DeSantis slammed it as “discriminatory.”
The NHL may have learned its lesson. They support their teams in holding events that promote various causes, but also their players’ rights to make their own decisions in supporting them. Especially when that decision is made based on someone’s faith.
As shocking as it may seem, it looks like the Flyers and the National Hockey may have played this one right and stood up to the mob.
Follow on Twitter: @Matt_Reigle