from The Athletic,
The New York Rangers responded Saturday following questions and online criticism over apparent changes to the team’s Pride Night festivities during Friday’s game against the Vegas Golden Knights.
The Rangers said in an email to fans earlier this month that the team would wear Pride-themed warmup jerseys and use tape on their sticks “in solidarity with those who continue to advocate for inclusivity,” according to screenshots posted by fans online. While plans went ahead for other aspects of the Pride celebration, players wore regular jerseys in warmups and did not tape their sticks.
“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,” the Rangers said in a statement Saturday. “In keeping with our organization’s core values, we support everyone’s individual right to respectfully express their beliefs.”
Greg Wyshynski of ESPN,
Said NYC Pride: "In recent years, numerous National Hockey League (NHL) franchises including the New York Rangers have introduced a series of 'Pride Nights' to engage the LGBTQ+ community.
"NYC Pride has been honored to take part in these celebrations, including as recently as last night at Madison Square Garden. NYC Pride was not made aware in advance of our participation in last night's ceremonial puck drop that Pride jerseys and rainbow tape would not be worn as advertised. We understand and appreciate that this has been a major disappointment to the LGBTQ+ community in New York and beyond.
"We are communicating these concerns with NY Rangers and NHL leadership as we continue to discuss the ways these organizations can work toward inclusion. NYC Pride has a duty to both support our partners and hold them accountable. We are committed to continuing our relationships with the NY Rangers and the NHL and maintaining substantive dialogue with them about meaningful allyship with the LGBTQ+ community."
via Larry Brooks of the New York Post,
Ivan Provorov’s Pride Night opt-out in Philadelphia on Jan. 17 seems to have had a chilling ripple effect that at least reached New York, where the Rangers on Friday reneged on a public commitment to take the pregame warmup wearing pride-themed jerseys while using pride-themed tape.
The organization did recognize the LGBTQ+ community throughout the Pride Night, but has repeatedly declined to provide an explanation for why the team took warmups in their designated Liberty jerseys with players using customary black tape.
That was not by decree of the NHL. “Each club is entitled to proceed as they see fit,” deputy commissioner Bill Daly told The Post in an email exchange in which he said the league had not counseled teams in any manner regarding this issue.
Following that game Friday, two players separately told my colleague, Mollie Walker, and me, that the players had not been consulted and only learned they would be wearing their customary warmups when they reported to the rink.
The inference is that a high-level executive feared that the prospect of an opt-out would become divisive and intervened to prevent that. It should be noted, however, that the Rangers wore rainbow-themed warmups and used rainbow tape in celebrating Pride Night the previous two seasons.
No one will step forward to take credit or accountability for the call. It is as if it were an Immaculate Decision, rendered by tablet on a mountaintop.
But it is about more than the Rangers.
Because if one lone protester can shut down a league-wide program for fear of copycat behavior, then what are we doing here?
What are we doing?
F'n bigots. If not, I fully expect them to pass on Military Appreciation Night. Or don't do what the Wings have planned, Faith Night 🤡
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