A Canadian broadcaster launched a vicious attack on religious people after Philadelphia Flyers defenseman Ivan Provorov refused to take part in warmups to observe “Pride Night” because of his Christian faith.
The celebration of gay culture included players wearing pride-themed jerseys while brandishing hockey sticks wrapped in rainbow-colored tape.
Provorov, a member of the Russian Orthodox Church, said after the game, “I respect everybody and I respect everybody’s choices. My choice is to stay true to myself and my religion.” Flyers head coach John Tortorella defended Provorov, echoing, “He’s being true to himself and to his religion. … It’s one thing I respect about Provy, he’s always true to himself.”
Tortorella and Provorov’s actions incensed Canadian broadcaster Sid Seixeiro, the host of “Breakfast Television,” who first compared the situation with what happened in Major League Baseball last year, saying, “This happened in baseball last year with the Tampa Bay Rays; there were five members of the Tampa Bay Rays who wouldn’t wear a patch supporting gay rights, and Major League Baseball didn’t do much. It was a story for a little bit.”
Then he turned to Tortorella: “John Tortorella, many years ago, when racial injustice — and it still is to this day — when Colin Kaepernick first started kneeling during national anthems, said anyone who does that on my team is going to sit. And he has a son who is an Army Ranger. So it’s not like Tortorella in the past hasn’t spoken on sensitive issues.”
He lectured the NHL on how it should respond:
The theme from the National Hockey League is “Hockey is for everyone,” okay. The theme is not, “Hockey is for everyone … unless you don’t believe in gay rights, then do whatever you want.” If the National Hockey League’s gonna do this, if any league’s gonna do this, do it properly, or reevaluate what you’re doing, because there’s not a lot of repercussions that I’m seeing from any league.
Now it could change with the NHL, it could change with the NHL, I think you fine the Flyers a million dollars for this, I’m not kidding. Figure this out and stop offending people on nights where it’s not about that, it’s supposed to be about inclusivity. The National Hockey League need to attack this and figure this out, because what I heard last night was offensive and didn’t make any sense.
“I just think the NHL has to do something here,” Seixeiro snapped, “This is not good enough. ‘Hockey is for everyone … unless you don’t agree with gay rights’ is not the phrasing of this. You’re either in this or you’re not.”
Then he went ballistic attacking religious people: “And one last point: Nothing scares me more than any human being who says ‘I’m not doing this because of my religious beliefs,’ because when you’ve looked at people’s lives who say that publicly, you’d throw up at what you saw. You would throw up at what you saw. And I’ve seen that a million times in a lot of different ways. So don’t give me that, with respect, don’t give me that, ’cause no one’s perfect. Don’t feed me the religious beliefs line and all of a sudden the NHL’s gonna back off this.”
“The National Hockey League today (rapping the desk) needs to fine that organization a million dollars and reevaluate how they support gay rights, ’cause that is insulting,” he concluded.
Philadelphia Flyers defenseman Ivan Provorov didn’t take part in the NHL’s “Hockey Is For Everyone” pregame warmups – where players wore Pride-themed jerseys and used sticks wrapped in rainbow Pride tape – citing his religion as the reason. @sid_seixeiro shares his thoughts ⬇️ pic.twitter.com/8c7XnP2FYJ
— Breakfast Television (@breakfasttv) January 18, 2023