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The NHL has decided to end one of the biggest headaches of the 2022-23 NHL season, with the Commissioner announcing that teams will not wear pride jerseys next season.
Why? According to Bettman, they were a distraction.
The great irony here is that the folks who turned them into the distraction weren’t the players who chose not to wear them. Instead, it was the people who were irate about that decision.
The very people who obsessed over the Pride jerseys and demanded they be worn by every player, no questions asked, are the ones who led the board of governors to vore to end the practice.
Teams can — and surely, many will — continue to host nights honoring groups at their discretion. Rainbow jerseys will still be available to fans and any players that want to model them (as they should be), but as far as warm-ups they’ve gone the way of the dodo and the two-line pass.
Bettman revealed this in an interview with Sportsnet’s Elliotte Friedman.
“Well actually, I’ve suggested that it would be appropriate for clubs not to change their jerseys in warm-ups because it’s become a distraction and taking away from the fact that all of our clubs in some form or another host nights in honor of various groups or causes,” Bettman said. “We’d rather than continue to get the appropriate attention that they deserve and not be a distraction.”
Progressives Tanked The Pride Jerseys They Thought They Were Defending
The Pride jerseys had been worn for years, and they never caused any issues until this year.
So how did they become an issue this season?
Some players simply decided they didn’t jive with their beliefs or they thought they posed a threat to their — or their friends and family’s — safety overseas.
The proper reaction should be, “That’s okay, let’s celebrate the guys who did wear them.” As you know, that didn’t happen.
The distraction Bettman is referring to stemmed from the reaction progressives had to players who chose not to wear them. They are the ones who made the Pride jerseys an issue. Had they just accepted that players like Ivan Provorov or the Staal brothers had their reasons for not wearing them and instead celebrated the players who did, there would still be Pride jerseys during warm-ups.
‘People Feeling Comfortable At A Game In Their Own Skin’
Friedman does a great job breaking hockey news, but this next part was frankly embarrassing. After Bettman confirmed the jerseys wouldn’t be worn during warmups, Friedman voiced his concerns.
“Number one, you’re always worried about people feeling comfortable at a game in their own skin,” he said.
Now, as a straight man, I’m going to pretend to know what it’s like to go to an NHL game member of the LGBTQ community. I imagine it’s more or less the same (unless there’s a secret LGBTQ drink menu or something, but I’m pretty sure there’s not).
What I will say is I can’t recall any instances of people being harassed or attacked at games because of their sexuality.
Perhaps they exist, and if they do, that’s terrible and it shouldn’t be happening.
However, I can think of many instances where this happened because they showed up wearing the visiting team’s sweater. Yet, there are no, “Hey, Maybe Let’s Not Punch The Guy Wearing The Lightning Jersey In The Face” Nights.
Friedman Couldn’t Believe The NHL Would Come To This Decision During Pride Month (For Some Reason)
The man they call “Friedge” had more.
“Also, it’s Pride Month right now,” he said. “I think that’s the concerns that I would have upon hearing that.”
He does realize we made up the calendar, right? Like, Pride Month could have just as easily been in November. There’s nothing magic about June that makes people suddenly more proud of their sexual orientation.
So then who cares when they make this decision during Pride Month? Would Friedman be cool with it if it was announced on July 1? No, and not just because that’s a busy day for him, what with free agency.
Everyone can be concerned about whatever they want. However, being concerned about what month the NHL decides to say no more Pride Jereys in warm-ups, is a waste of a concern.
I like booing Gary Bettman as much as the next guy. That said I think he handled this situation pretty well, even as the league descends into wokeness. Considering Bettman was saying that these jersey nights were a distraction months ago. For that, he could very well face some woke rage.
But what those people are too dumb to pick up on? That it was their anger that led to the very thing they were fighting for getting canned.
Follow on Twitter: @Matt_Reigle