Last Updated on January 18, 2023

An NHL player sparked backlash after he refused to wear an LGBT-themed jersey during warmups on Tuesday.

The Philadelphia Flyers’ Ivan Provorov decided not to participate in the team’s warmups against the Anaheim Ducks. The Flyers were holding a Pride Night and players were expected to wear a Pride Night jersey and use  hockey sticks wrapped with rainbow, LGBT-themed tape.

Following the game, Provorov told reporters he chose not to support the Pride Night theme because of his Russian Orthodox religious beliefs.

“I respect everybody. I respect everybody’s choices. My choice is to stay true to myself and my religion,” the Flyers defenseman said.

The Flyers coach, John Tortorella, also told reporters Provorov was just “being true to himself and his religion.”

“This has to do with his belief and his religion. It’s one thing I respect about Provy is he is always true to himself,” Tortorella added.

Social media users and members of the LGBTQ community were infuriated by the Flyers player’s actions.

The Athletic’s hockey reporter, Pierre LeBrun, contested that Provorov is just hiding behind religion and lied about respecting LGBTQ people.

“But Provorov obviously does not respect “everyone”. If he did respect everyone, he would have taken part in warm-up and worn the Pride Night jersey. Don’t hide behind religion,” LeBrun posted to Twitter.

Gord Miller, a hockey commentator, said the Flyers should have benched Provorov.

Dean Blundell, a Canadian radio host, called in the NHL player to move to Russia and fight for Putin if he really wants to stay true to his beliefs. “If Ivan Provorov is that committed to a genocidal, hateful Russian Orthodox ideology, he should join Putin’s army in their death trenches. That’s where the fight is. Not in hockey rinks,” Blundell tweeted.

The Flyers released this statement following the controversy:

“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.”

Stay tuned to National File for any updates.

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