Here at the sports desk located somewhere below decks of the Good Pirate Ship RedState, assuming we can get Sammy the Shark to stop doing backflips after the January 28th victory by Los Tiburones de San Jos? over Los Ping?inos de Pittsburgh, time to look at the newest sports non-controversy. Namely, the New York Rangers not plastering rainbows on their practice jerseys prior to their home game against the Vegas Golden Knights on January 27th. From the New York Post:
The Garden and the Rangers hosted their seventh annual Pride Night on Friday, but contrary to what they initially advertised, the team did not wear special warm-up jerseys or utilize pride-themed tape.
One player told The Post that he just saw the regular Lady Liberty jersey hanging in his locker and he did not know why the Rangers did not wear the originally planned warm-ups, which they have worn in the past “in solidarity with those who continue to advocate for inclusivity.”
The seemingly reversed decision came in wake of Philadelphia defenseman Ivan Provorov’s refusal to wear Pride-themed apparel on the Flyers’ Pride Night on Jan. 19. The Russian cited his religious beliefs as his reasoning.
Reuters noted that it wasn’t like the Rangers ignored the entire matter.
A pre-game advertisement showed Rangers made other gestures in support of Pride Night, including a charitable donation to a group that supports homeless LGBTQ+ youth, and Madison Square Garden was illuminated in rainbow lights during the game.
Since Reuters is, well, Reuters, they had to add some “context.”
Asked for comment on Saturday, the NHL referred Reuters to a previous statement made in regard to Provorov.
“Clubs decide whom to celebrate, when and how – with league counsel and support. Players are free to decide which initiatives to support, and we continue to encourage their voices and perspectives on social and cultural issues,” it said.
Translation: call Rangers owner James Dolan; we’re busy.
New York Post columnist Mollie Walker was nonplussed.
By veering from their promoted plan to wear Pride-themed jerseys for their annual Pride Night on Friday at Madison Square Garden, the Rangers turned what was otherwise a beautiful celebration of inclusivity into a story about the organization.
It’s ironic that the reversed decision to forgo the special warm-ups and tape was presumably made to avoid a public relations mess. Instead, that’s exactly what has happened. After making a public promise that the team would don the rainbow colors of the Pride flag “in solidarity” with the LGBTQ+ community, and then walking back on it, what did the organization think would happen? There were fans who purchased their tickets to see themselves represented on the ice, and they were left disappointed.
However, as noted above, it’s not like the Rangers ignored the night.
Broadway star Michael James Scott, who is gay, sang a goosebump-inciting rendition of the national anthem. Andre Thomas, the co-chair of NYC Pride and Heritage of Pride, participated in the ceremonial puck drop. Fans received a Pride-themed fanny pack, while the pinwheel ceiling and panels on the outside of the Garden were illuminated in the rainbow colors.
The Rangers have also promised to make a charitable contribution to the Ali Forney Center, a New York-based agency dedicated to helping LGBTQ+ homeless youths. The center assists more than 2,000 youths per year through a 24-hour Drop-In Center, which provides more than 70,000 meals annually, medical, and mental health services through an on-site clinic, and a scattered-site housing program.
But … but … YOU DIDN’T WEAR RAINBOWS ON YOUR JERSEYS!
Let’s turn this on its side. If an NHL team held a Faith and Family Night, as part of the event placing an ichthus on the team’s warm-up jerseys, and a player said I’m not wearing that, how would the sports media world respond? The columns would write themselves. “How DARE a team push religion!” Plus a plethora of laudatory prose on behalf of the player’s heroic stance, never mind that the brave atheist clich? grew stale sometime around 1967.
Quoting from our Sister Toldjah from a January 20th post she wrote about Philadelphia Flyers Ivan Provorov refusing to wear a Pride Night warm-up jersey:
The ensuing sports media uproar earned Provorov a surprising defense from TikToker Clarkson Lawson, a gay man who ended up ripping the “Alphabet Mafia” over their dictatorial-like tactics against those who don’t wholeheartedly wrap themselves in the rainbow flag in a video that to date has over 2.5 million views.
“The fact that we have this incessant need for validation shows that we’re not actually secure in who we are,” Lawson stated. “We don’t need a pride night or a pride month. Just live your life, be happy with who you are, and stop trying to so hard to garner validation from people who are not going to give it to you.”
“Our acceptance of ourselves should not be contingent on other people agreeing with us,” Lawson went on to say. “If you truly want to be happy with who you are, find validation from within. Your life will be way better off because of it.”
Seriously, will these people ever learn why we’re tired of their whining? Grow up. The rest of us are under no obligation to rearrange our universe based on someone else’s sexual preference. Leave someone alone and in peace to be themselves? Absolutely. But leave us alone as well.