Mind you, this wasn’t during a game, this was pregame during some warm-ups.
Regardless of his refusal to wear the team-sanctioned warm-up uniform, the Flyers allowed Provorov, who is from Russia, to play during the game.
“I respect everybody’s choices,” Provorov said after the game. “My choice is to stay true to myself and my religion. That’s all I’m going to say.” He said his religion is Russian Orthodox.
“With Provy, he’s being true to himself and to his religion,” John Tortorella said about why Ivan Provorov did not skate in warmups with the team when they wore Pride jerseys on Pride Night. He was the only player who didn’t skate. The rest wore the jerseys.
The Flyers released a statement during the game all but confirming the move. Via hockey writer Frank Seravalli:
“The Philadelphia Flyers organization is committed to inclusivity and is proud to support the LGBTQ+ community. Many of our players are active in their support of local LGBTQ+ organizations, and we were proud to host our annual Pride Night again this year. The Flyers will continue to be strong advocates for inclusivity and the LGBTQ+ community.” -Flyers spokesperson.
The NHL has issued a statement defending Provorov’s choice: “Players are free to decide which initiatives to support, and we continue to encourage their voices and perspectives on social and cultural issues.”
This is what the “offensive” Pride warm-up jersey looked like:
Both moves prompted some pretty harsh words for the club and for the player:
Ivan Provorov was allowed to play in a game for the Philadelphia Flyers - the organization that was the first to say that you will be removed from the arena if you utter a homophobic slur - after refusing to wear a Pride logo for warm ups.— Steph Driver (@StephaliciousD) January 18, 2023
What an absolute disgrace.
Of course, Ivan Provorov is more than happy to play pregame dress-up when it does align with his belief system. pic.twitter.com/rOG0uoCsf4— Greg Wyshynski (@wyshynski) January 18, 2023
The Flyers won the game, 5-2.
Last year, five Tampa Bay Rays players drew criticism (and praise from some anti-gay forces) for refusing to wear rainbows on their uniforms. This is a trend that is increasing, as more teams incorporate the rainbow into Pride uniforms.
The Flyers have had a good record on outreach to the LGBT community, hosting Pride and You Can Play Nights for years. At least two current players — James van Riemsdyk and Scott Laughton — have spoken out for increased LGBT inclusion in the NHL.