In a decision that is sure to ignite a firestorm of criticism, the NHL’s Chicago Blackhawks have opted not to wear pride jerseys during warm-ups for Sunday’s so-called Pride Night. The Blackhawks will be the third team that, for various reasons, has either totally opted out or had numerous players decline to wear the rainbow-themed jerseys.
While the teams and the players should have the right to decline for personal reasons, and it appears the NHL is allowing that freedom, it doesn’t mean the left isn’t going to levy harsh criticism for not following their commands. The Athletic reported:
The Blackhawks will become the third NHL team to decline to wear Pride jerseys during Pride Night, citing security concerns for their three players of Russian heritage, team sources confirmed to The Athletic.
Two Blackhawks sources stressed that the decision was made by team management and security officials, not by the players, but it’s another body blow to the Hockey is For Everyone movement that the NHL proudly touts, but all too frequently fails to back up.
Chicago Blackhawks Reverse Plan to Wear Pride Warmup Jerseys, Citing Russian Laws: Reports https://t.co/2IQXssn1y4
— People (@people) March 23, 2023
As much as hockey wants to portray itself as for “everyone,” the fact remains that many players are from other countries and cultures and often are unwilling to bend a knee to the LGBTQ activists in America. Simply wearing a rainbow jersey for warm-ups does little to nothing, and players rightfully shouldn’t be forced to support something they don’t believe in.
The Blackhawks appear to be taking the hit as an organization rather than allowing individual players to absorb the criticism. The Athletic continued:
A Russian law passed in December criminalized so-called LGBTQ+ “propaganda.” Since then, the Minnesota Wild and the New York Rangers opted out of wearing Pride-themed jerseys during warmups — typically, the jerseys have rainbow coloring and are auctioned off for charity.
Now the Blackhawks will join them, contradicting earlier statements from alternate captain Connor Murphy and team CEO Danny Wirtz.
In that vein, a team source didn’t know if the players who did want to wear the jerseys pushed back on the decision at all. The organization chose not to give players the choice, citing concerns that Russian players could be put in a position to cite the Russian law as the reason for their absence. Due to the way the law is written, the team was worried players could end up violating it simply by citing it as the reason for their lack of participation, because it would imply they otherwise would have worn the jerseys.
While Chicago touts one of the largest gay populations in America, it is an interesting decision by the organization and the correct one. No one should be forced to participate in something that goes against their religious beliefs, or that would violate their country’s laws.
It could indeed have been an issue for the Russian players, but it shouldn’t matter. If a team or player chooses not to be forced to support something their beliefs don’t align with, then so be it. This is America, and we have freedom of choice. The Blackhawks might be using Russian law as an excuse, but it is still a welcome site to see another organization push back on the LGBTQ agenda.
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