Ivan Provorov, defenseman for the Philadelphia Flyers, caused a stir in their game against the Anaheim Ducks on Tuesday night when he did not participate in warmups. His absence was due to his religious beliefs as a Russian Orthodox Christian; specifically, he refused to wear a Pride Night jersey and use sticks wrapped in rainbow Pride tape.
The incident raised questions about the team’s commitment to inclusivity and support of local LGBTQ+ organizations, with many fans expressing their confusion or disapproval, and on the flip side of the coin, many others were proud of him for sticking to his guns and his beliefs.
In response, the Flyers released a statement expressing their dedication to “maintaining an inclusive environment” and “supporting our local LGBTQ+ organizations and causes” but did not address Provorov by name.
Coach John Tortorella came to Provorov’s defense during post-game interviews. He confirmed why the player was absent from warmups but made clear that he would not bench him out of respect for his religion; he referred to it as a “true belief system that should be respected”. Despite missing pre-game activities, Ivan played 22:45 minutes during the game which ended with 5-2 win for Philadelphia Flyers.