The New York Rangers team celebrated Pride Night on Friday, but did not wear pride-themed jerseys or use rainbow tape during the event.
The team recently said it would do those things at the celebration, but when asked Saturday why it didn’t follow through with the jerseys, the Rangers told Fox News:
Our organization respects the LGBTQ+ community and we are proud to bring attention to important local community organizations as part of another great Pride Night. In line with the organisation’s core values, we support everyone’s individual right to respectfully express their beliefs.
According to NHL reporter Mollie Walker, there was “no acknowledgment or accountability” for the change of plans regarding the jerseys to be auctioned for charity:
No acknowledgment or responsibility for deviating from the original plan to use the warm-up jerseys, which were to be auctioned for charity. By doing so, will #NYR made this a story.
More on this coming soon.
— Mollie Walker (@MollieeWalkerr) 28 January 2023
Meanwhile, one of the players said he didn’t know why the team wasn’t wearing the special jerseys that night, according to the Fox article.
However, the team welcomed NYC Pride co-chairman Andre Thomas during the ceremonial puck drop, but he apparently did not know about the decision beforehand.
NYC Pride later released a statement saying it was an honor to participate in the previous celebrations.
The statement reads in part:
NYC Pride was not made aware that Pride jerseys and rainbow tape would not be used as advertised prior to our participation in last night’s ceremonial puck drop. We understand and appreciate that this has been a huge disappointment to the LGBTQ+ community in New York and beyond.
We are communicating these concerns with the NY Rangers and NHL management as we continue to discuss how these organizations can work toward inclusion.
The group also noted that it was committed to its relationship with the Rangers and the NHL and continued to dialogue with them about “meaningful allies with the LGBTQ+ community.”
At the recent event, the Rangers donated to the Ali Forney Center, a group that helps homeless youth in the LGBTQ community.
The news came after Philadelphia Flyers defenseman Ivan Provorov chose not to wear the gay pride jersey the team sponsored for its gay pride night game, citing his Russian Orthodox religion, Breitbart News reported on January 18.
He so, “I respect everyone. I respect everyone’s choice.”
#Flyers Ivan Provorov on his pre-game Pride Night boycott:
“My choice is to be true to myself and my religion.” pic.twitter.com/YSFKvkyEJC
— Dan Gelston (@APgelston) 18 January 2023
He added that “my choice is to be true to myself and my religion.”
Provorov’s jersey was nearly sold out in the NHL and Fanatic’s online stores after he chose not to attend the team’s gay pride night, according to Breitbart News.