The New York Rangers have come under fire from the hockey world after changing their plans and choosing not to wear Pride Night-themed warm-up jerseys ahead of Friday’s game against the Vegas Golden Knights.
The Rangers have announced that they would don rainbow-themed jerseys and tape ahead of Friday’s game. The team wore similar designs at previous Pride Night celebrations, including in 2022.
They also released these looks in 2021.
It should be noted that Rangers celebrated their 2023 version of Pride Night in a number of ways. Broadway star Michael James Scott sang the national anthem, NYC Pride’s Andre Thomas took part in the ceremonial puck drop, and Madison Square Garden’s iconic ceiling was lit up in rainbow colors. some fans even received themed fanny packs when entering the arena for the match.
These moments were naturally overshadowed by the decision to wear retro uniforms instead of those promoted Pride Night uniforms. Following Rangers’ win over the Vegas Golden Knights, the club released this canned statement.
“Our organization respects the LGBTQ+ community, and we’re proud to bring attention to important local community organizations as part of another great Pride night. In keeping with our organization’s core values, we support the individual’s right to everyone to express their convictions with respect.”
Less than two weeks after Philadelphia Flyers defenseman Ivan Provorov refused to wear a Pride Night warm-up jersey, it’s only natural to grasp the phrase: “We support everyone’s individual right to express their beliefs respectfully.
Some speculate if Rangers decided against wearing Pride Night shirts to cover up a player or players who did not want to participate.
At the moment, there is no clear answer to these questions. The New York Post’s Mollie Walker and Larry Brooks spoke to two unnamed Rangers who were unaware the team wasn’t going to wear Pride Night jerseys, saying it could have been someone else’s decision in the organization.
“Two players separately told my Post colleague Larry Brooks and me that there had been no team discussions about wearing the Pride-themed jerseys and tape. didn’t know why they weren’t wearing them.Brooks also reached out to Deputy Commissioner and NHL Chief Counsel Bill Daly to see if teams had been advised not to proceed with their original Pride Night plans in the wake of the Provorov refused. Daly said no and that each club has the right to proceed as they see fit.
Some think this change of plans borders on false advertising.
One of the sharpest criticisms relates to another possible side effect: could this negatively impact the charitable aspects of Rangers’ Pride Night? Would people pay less money for themed jerseys if they are not worn during the game, or even before the game? (The jerseys were to be auctioned off, with proceeds going to charity.)
ESPN’s Greg Wyshynski received a response from NYC Pride upon learning that the Rangers weren’t wearing the Pride Night shirts, which included the following:
“NYC Pride was honored to participate in these celebrations, including just last night at Madison Square Garden. NYC Pride was not notified in advance of our participation in the puck-off ceremony. from last night that the Pride jerseys and rainbow ribbon wouldn’t We understand and appreciate that this was a huge disappointment for the LGBTQ+ community in New York City and beyond.
Predictably, the Rangers’ decision drew a lot of criticism from online hockey fans.
Indeed, many people inside and outside the LGBTQ+ community are disappointed with the way the Rangers and Flyers have handled recent decisions. Time will tell if the NHL and its teams will learn valuable lessons or continue to claw their way through what should be positive moments and initiatives.
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