Pride Night in the NHL: Controversy
Pride night in the NHL has been controversial recently. Some players have embraced the festivities, and some have not. Read on for my thoughts on the issue and how different players and teams are dealing with honoring pride night.
Last night, it was reported that Marc and Eric Staal cited religious reasons for not participating in the pride night festivities. The Staal brothers declined to wear the warmup jerseys. The Staal brothers collectively released the following statement about the
“After many thoughts, prayers and discussions we have chosen not to wear a pride night jersey tonight. We carry no judgment on how people choose to live their lives, and believe that all people should be welcome in all aspects of the game of hockey. Having said that, we feel that by us wearing a pride jersey it goes against our Christian beliefs.”
“We hope you can respect this statement, we will not be speaking any further on this matter and would like to continue to focus on the game and helping the Florida Panthers win the Stanley Cup.”
What is interesting, however, is that Eric and Marc Staal both participated in pride night last season without hesitation. What the Staal brothers are saying is something that other athletes have echoed as well.
In fact, the Chicago Blackhawks as an organization made the collective decision to not wear their Pride-themed warmup jerseys for their Pride Night citing security concerns for their Russian players. The concern stems from a Russian law that expanded restrictions on activities that could be considered promoting LGBTQIA+ rights.
Lujke Richardson, coach of the Chicago Blackhawks said he and the team were disappointed with the decision but ultimately called it “an unfortunate situation… I don’t think we can control world issues, so that takes it out of our hands. We’re just making decisions as best we can as an organization and for everybody.”
The NHL has also completely declined to make further comments surrounding the situation. The NHL has been working extremely hard on making the game more welcoming to all different kinds of people, and the recent events certainly cast a dark shadow over the league.
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