A hockey writer appeared to be upset at Philadelphia Flyers defenseman Ivan Provorov for boycotting the team’s Pride festivities on Tuesday over religious reasons while being OK with wearing a jersey supporting the military.
Greg Wyshynski, a senior hockey writer for ESPN, pointed that notion out as the uproar over Provorov’s decision reached a fever pitch on social media. Provorov didn’t participate in pregame warmups when the team wore Pride-themed jerseys and used sticks wrapped in rainbow Pride tape.
“I respect everybody and I respect everybody’s choices,” Provorov told reporters after the game. “My choice is to stay true to myself and my religion. That’s all I’m going to say.”
“Of course, Ivan Provorov is more than happy to play pregame dress-up when it does align with his belief system,” Wyshynski tweeted.
Wyshynski defended his points in separate tweets.
Provorov wore a camo jersey for warmups during Military Appreciation Night in November 2021 and in November 2017.
The veteran defenseman received immense backlash for his decision to not partake in the festivities.
Flyers coach John Tortorella explained the situation after the game.
“I think the organization has sent out a release regarding the beliefs that we have,” he said, via Philly Hockey Now. “It was really a great night. With Provy, he is being true to himself and to his religion. This has to do with his beliefs and his religion. That is one thing I respect about Provy, he is always true to himself, so that’s where we’re at with that.”
Tortorella thought it would be “unfair” to bench him for his beliefs
“I just think it’s unfair. I know you are probably going to talk to Provy,” he said. “I’m not going to spend a lot of time on it. I think it was a great night, and I’m not going to get too deep into the conversation.”
The Flyers didn’t mention Provorov’s beliefs in their statement.
“The Philadelphia Flyers organization is committed to inclusivity and is proud to support the LGBTQ+ community,” the team said. “Many of our players are active in their support of local LGBTQ+ organizations, and we were proud to host out annual Pride Night again this year. The Flyers will continue to be strong advocates for inclusivity and the LGBTQ+ community.”
A similar issue occurred in Major League Baseball last season.
Tampa Bay Rays players came under fire in June for refusing to wear a “Pride Night” logo. Five players cited religious beliefs as to why they chose to remove the logos, and Rays manager Kevin Cash said that the organization supported each player’s right to wear or not wear the logos.