Panarin and Shesterkin did not put on the “rainbow” uniform.
Two weeks ago Ivan Provorov made a resonant statement that he refuses to wear a uniform with LGBT symbols for a warm-up. The Russian hockey player “Philadelphia” explained his decision with religious considerations. At the same time, he did it calmly and thoroughly, without saying a single superfluous word.
At first it seemed that Provorov’s public would literally gobble up this demarche. At least the reaction of North American journalists to his act was very categorical and painted in negative tones. Ivan received support only from his coach John Tortorella, known for his old-fashioned outlook on life and hockey.
However, over time, more and more supporters of Provorov appeared in the public after. Mostly Republican fans. Apparently, it was they who sold out all the jersey of the Russian in the official store NHL. The American hockey (and not only hockey) society literally split due to the discussion that the Philadelphia defender spawned.
But the hockey players, that is, Provorov’s colleagues, were silent until recently. No one spoke in public or took steps. Neither as a sign of solidarity with the Russian, nor condemning his demarche. Is it possible that the former scout of the Russian national team, and now the agent of Matvey Michkov, Sergey Fedotov, said that even before Provorov, our Washington players took self-withdrawal from actions in support of LGBT.
“On the same day, three Russian and one Belarusian player of Washington also ignored this action, but – silence. Everyone in the club knows that you can’t approach Ovechkin’s gang with this garbage. Because you will hear a categorical “no” in response.– Fedotov said on the air of Sport Express.
But the scandal happened not with the Russian players of Washington, but with the most popular US hockey club, the New York Rangers. For the warm-up before the game with the “Vegas” hockey players from Manhattan had to come out in a jersey painted in “rainbow” colors, as well as with a similar tape for clubs. However, this did not happen, which caused a storm of indignation.
“We pride ourselves on drawing attention to important local community organizations. In keeping with the core values of our organization, we support the right of every individual to respectfully express their beliefs,” the club said in a statement.
At the same time, neither the club nor local journalists talk about who initiated the disruption of this action. Either individual players showed integrity, or it was a collective decision of the entire team. Recall that three Russians play for the Rangers: Artemy Panarin, Igor Shesterkin and Vitaly Kravtsov. Of these, only Panarin took part in the match with Vegas, but did not score points, Kravtsov remained on the bench, and Shesterkin was on the bench.
Did the Russians from New York show solidarity with their compatriot from Philadelphia? Even so, they decided to avoid publicity and did not explain their position. At the same time, it should be noted that Pride Night, in which hockey clubs support the LGBT community, was held by the Rangers for the seventh time in a row. And earlier, both Panarin and Shesterkin took part in this action.
Despite the decision of the players, it would be wrong to say that they ruined Pride Night. A pre-game advertisement showed that the Rangers made a charitable donation to a group that supports homeless LGBT youth, and Madison Square Garden was lit up with rainbow lights during the game. In addition, Michael James Scott, who is gay, sang the national anthem.
The NHL and individual clubs are unlikely to abandon their policies. At least for the foreseeable future. But it will now be more and more difficult to lure players into these disguises. There was a precedent that the whole team has already taken advantage of. If earlier hockey players were afraid to take the first step against the current, now the “domino effect” can work. Moreover, the players saw that Provorov, even in the USA, is not only hated, but also supported.