Philadelphia Flyer’s defenseman Ivan Provorov skipped the teams’ warmups ahead of their Tuesday night matchup with the Anaheim Ducks, refusing to wear their rainbow Pride Night jersey.
On a night that the organization wished to show their support for the LGBTQ+ community, the Flyers held its annual Pride Night. Players warmed up with black and rainbow jerseys with the pride flag shown in the logo, number, and last name. The Flyers also showed their support with rainbow tape on their sticks.
Provorov, who has not missed a game yet this season, raised eyebrows when he was not spotted in warmups. He did however proceed to play in the game.
Citing his Russian-Orthodox religion, Provorov stated, “I respect everybody and I respect everybody’s choices. My choice is to stay true to myself and my religion.”
The Flyers’ organization released a statement regarding their support for the LGBTQ+ community after Provorov was absent from warmups.
“The Philadelphia Flyers organization is committed to inclusivity and is proud to support the LGBTQ+ community. Many of our players are active in their support of local LGBTQ+ organizations, and we were proud to host our annual Pride Night again this year. The Flyers will continue to be strong advocates for inclusivity and the LGBTQ+ community.”
Along with a statement from the Flyers’, the NHL also released a statement regarding Provorov’s refusal to wear the jersey.
After the game, Flyers’ Head Coach John Tortorella came to Provorov’s defense, stating “He’s being true to himself.” Tortorella also said he did not consider benching him and refused to answer any more questions on the subject.
However, these comments contradict a previous statement made by Tortorella in 2016.
Back when he was the head coach of the Men’s USA hockey team, Tortorella stated, “If any of my players sit on the bench for the national anthem, they will sit for the rest of the game.”
These comments from Provorov and Tortorella have enraged fans on social media, with most posts producing the harsh claim that they’re both “homophobic”.
Following a night that was supposed to represent support, one can only assume that the Flyers’ organization is not happy sharing sentences with the word “homophobic”.
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