Once the NHL let one out the door, it was only logical that another would follow. After the Flyers Ivan Provorov refused to wear their Pride Night jerseys in warmups, and their coach John Tortorella refused to reprimand him in any way (nor did the NHL’s official partner in these matters, the You Can Play Project), The New York Rangers were seemingly overjoyed to pass that baton to them. On Friday night at MSG, the Rangers did not wear Pride jerseys or use rainbow tape for warmups, even though it was advertised as part of the Rangers’ Pride Night festivities. Which is why Pride Night is mostly on the sidelines, which is a fucking problem anyway. The point of these is to make it clear that LGBTQ+ fans, and hopefully one day gamers, are welcome in the entire arena, literally and figuratively.
That’s what the NHL gets for burying Provorov and Tortorella’s heads in the sand. Instead of making the NHL a welcoming place for those who have not felt comfortable in the past or right now, they have opened up more space for bigots, ignorance and hate. And they seem to like it. Did she come with another toothless YCP statement? Of course it is! This is what they specialize in:
This is not about accepting all views, as the league, its teams and the YCP would like to claim. No one asked Provorov or any of the Rangers to kiss a teammate at center ice during warmups. They were just asked to wear a jersey that said people different from them were welcome, which should be easy enough regardless of your beliefs. Especially if your beliefs are supposedly deeply Christian, which – although most of those who follow that faith have forgotten – is actually based on accepting and loving others even if they are also not Christians.
Nobody hears anything
What all of these entities have lost sight of is that Pride Nights and other events like this are not just about reaching out to the LGBTQ+ community. It’s just as much, if not more, about educating other NHL fans and employees that this is what we stand for now, to teach them that the LGBTQ+ community will be a part of the NHL world in the future and that the NHL is happy to have them. And that not only will it not be the end of the world, but it will actually be better. That everyone must understand what modern times are like and what the world looks like now. These nights are equally dedicated to teaching the Provors and Rangers of the world that this is now part of your world. Even if it doesn’t apply to you, you will make room for it.
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Instead, what the NHL and its teams have said is that it’s okay for its players and executives to think and act like they’re a group of fans, and yes, the players in their locker room — because there are gay NHLers — are less than . To sanction the hatred and ignorance they faced that either kept them out of the arena seats or who they were as players.
Because it is what it is. No matter what Provorov, Rangers or YCP want to hide behind, it’s all based on the idea that LGBTQ+ are inferior, inferior to. They are not worthy of my respect, they are not worthy of simply wearing a shirt for 20 minutes, because they do not belong. They say they can’t take the time to make it clear they’re welcome, even if it’s not me. Because only what I am is what is allowed, what is right, what is “normal”. That’s the way the NHL is going.
If that was all there was to the NHL, that would be bad enough. But all of this comes during the same time period when the league couldn’t find a cardboard spine to stand up to Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis. Opposing DeSantis should be the biggest ballpark in our culture today. He is so wrong and so ugly in so many things, give me. The NHL was scheduled to hold a Pathway To Hockey Summit during All-Star weekend in Sunrise, where minority applicants could learn more about and seek employment in the NHL. Clearly, the NHL needs it, given the makeup of the current staff.
Of course, DeSantis couldn’t wait to run over and yell “I woke up.” The league’s answer should have been obvious. AND it was still obvious, it was obvious in the way that the NHL and hockey have always been obvious. The NHL backtracked and removed all language from the event about diversity and minority candidates. Maybe the biggest whiff ever.
What is the NHL afraid of? As always, he terrifies his white fanbase, even though most of them will be dead in the next 10-15 years. The NHL is still pretty convinced that its arenas are mostly full of old white guys who just showed up to see the fights and hate anything that goes along with modern society. They are mostly terrified by the fact that it would be fatal for them if there were any similar reactions to their league if the NFL got Colin Kaepernick. The NFL can take that hit, which barely lasted a ripple anyway, but the NHL can’t.
The thing is, hockey fans aren’t going anywhere. Too much of their identity is wrapped up in being a hockey fan. I’ve always said, for example, that if the Chicago Blackhawks changed their logo, there would be a lot of whining and yelling from a certain set of fans, and then those same fans would be the first to buy a new jersey with the new logo on it. I saw. But Gary Bettman and the NHL are still too scared.
All you need to know is that while the NHL may claim this or that, they still have Paul Bissonnette on one of their national telecasts, working for the BarfStool, a bastion of hate and ignorance. There’s the NHL. The NHL is the place to watch one of the largest sports media companies, SB Nation, separate almost all of their hockey coverage when he decides he needs to lower marginal costs, because that’s where the NHL is.
In the spirit of how they and the YCP want to operate, we’ll just say it’s their choice. It’s a choice that will of course leave them behind, but it’s their league and they can run it into the ground if they want to.