The discussions about Pride Nights in the NHL continue. Over the last couple of weeks, several players and teams have decided not to wear the rainbow-colored jerseys during warmups as scheduled during the team’s themed Pride Night, and on Thursday, it happened again.
When Florida Panthers skated out for warmups, two players were missing. Veterans Eric and Marc Staal stayed in the dressing room in a protest against the themed night.
In a statement released before the game, they cited ”Christian beliefs” as the reason for their decision, but they were still in the lineup when the puck was dropped.
When the Chicago Blackhawks decided not to wear the pride jerseys, they claimed it was a security reason for the three Russian players on the team, as a new law in Russia, enacted in December, makes it illegal for Russians to promote or ”praise” LGBTQ relationships.
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But goalie Sergei Bobrovsky still took part during Florida Panthers’ Pride Night. But Eric and Marc Stall refused.
Postgame, Eric Staal talked to the media, but he didn’t say much.
“I respectfully would just like to stick with the statement that we made and released,’’ Eric Staal said. “That’s how we felt in this situation and that is the decision that we made. I would like to leave it at that. I want to try my best to move forward.”
Pride Night isn’t a new thing in the NHL. Teams have done it for years, and this season is really the first that it’s been some kind of controversy around it. Reporters asked Eric Staal if he, sometime during his career, has worn a pride jersey. Staal said he never had, but there’s actually photographic evidence of him being wrong about it.
When Staal played with the Montreal Canadiens during the 2020-21 season, he wore Nr. 21. After his boycott last night, pictures have made the rounds on social media of Staal walking out on the ice, wearing a Canadiens Pride jersey. But Staal still wouldn’t admit it.
“I haven’t before. I never have. … I haven’t worn a pride jersey before,” he said, per Erin Brown.
What’s your thoughts on this?
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