(LifeSiteNews) — Professional National Hockey League (NHL) player Ivan Provorov was the only member of the Philadelphia Flyers who refused to wear a rainbow-colored jersey ahead of Tuesday night’s annual pride game against the Anaheim Ducks.
The team donned the jerseys for warmups but did not keep them on for the game, which they won 5-2.
During a media scrum following the match up, Provorov told journalists that his Russian Orthodox beliefs prevented him from participating in the pre-game exercises.
“I respect everybody and I respect everybody’s choices. My choice is to stay true to myself and my religion.”
Flyers defenseman Ivan Provorov on refusing to wear a rainbow jersey for warm ups during “Pride Night” due to his Russian Orthodox faith.
— Greg Price (@greg_price11) January 18, 2023
“I respect everyone. I respect everybody’s choices. My choice is to stay true to myself and my religion,” he said.
When pressed by multiple reporters for further comment, the seven-year NHL veteran simply stated, “that’s all I’m going to say.” He swatted away an additional question by saying, “can you respect [my views]?”
Provorov’s coach John Tortorella fully supported his decision to not appear on the ice.
“He’s being true to himself and to his religion. This has to do with his belief and his religion,” Tortorella said during a post-game press conference. “It’s one thing I respect about Provy, he’s always true to himself. And so that’s where I am with that.”
Provorov, a 26-year-old defenseman, led the Flyers in ice-time with just under 23 minutes Tuesday. NHL games are comprised of three, 20-minute periods.
According to the Philadelphia Inquirer, this year is the first time Flyers players wore the jerseys, although the franchise has hosted a pride night before. This year’s event, like last year’s, also featured rainbow tape for players’ sticks.
Like many other professional sports teams, the Flyers immediately jumped into damage control following Provorov’s remarks.
“The Philadelphia Flyers organization is committed to inclusivity and is proud to support the local LGBTQ+ community,” their statement read. “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.”
Two players on the Flyers have taken on an active role in normalizing the LGBT agenda in hockey. Forward Scott Laughton and left-winger James van Riemsdyk both serve as ambassadors for the pro-homosexual You Can Play Project, which condemned Provorov’s decision.
Laughton gave an indirect answer to a question posed by a reporter about Provorov’s refusal to wear the jersey, stating that the evening was simply “amazing.” A “non-binary” 13-year-old was allowed to beat a ceremonial drum ahead of the puck drop to begin the game.
Multiple mainstream sports reporters attacked Provorov for his religious protest. ESPN hockey writer Greg Wyshynski unleashed a torrent of pro-social justice tweets aimed at Provorov’s supporters, whom he labeled “homophobes.” Sports Illustrated’s Mike Stephens called Provorov “disgusting.”
The incident was not the first time a professional hockey player has expressed disagreement with LGBT propaganda intruding into the sport. Last week, minor leaguer Louie Rowe of the Peoria Rivermen mocked the Michigan-based Kalamazoo Wings for promoting the transgender flag on its social media accounts. Rowe was released from the organization within a matter of hours. He has since doubled down on his opposition to the LGBT agenda by publishing numerous tweets about child grooming and liberal extremism. Rowe applauded Provorov’s stance in a tweet earlier this week.
The Flyers are back in action against the Chicago Blackhawks Thursday, January 19th at 7:00pm EST. They look to improve on their 19-19 record.