On Tuesday, the NHL’s Philadelphia Flyers held their team’s Pride Night, during which defenseman Ivan Provorov refused to wear the gay pride warm-up jersey, citing religious beliefs. After this, a senior reporter for the NHL Network shamed Provorov for his personal decision and said he should leave America and go back to his homeland of Russia to fight in the war against Ukraine.

Ivan Provorov

On Tuesday night, the Philadelphia Flyers wore custom warm-up jerseys that were pride-themed, and many players wrapped their warm-up sticks with rainbow tape. However, Provorov, who is Russian Orthodox, decided that he would not be participating in the Pride celebration due to his religious beliefs.

After the game, Provorov spoke briefly to the press about his decision, saying, “I respect everybody’s choices. My choice is to stay true to myself and my religion. That’s all I’m going to say.”

Although the Pride ‘festivities’ lasted only about 15 minutes, the woke media has blown up over one player’s refusal to take part.

One reporter, E.J. Hradek, went too far with his criticisms of the Russian defenseman simply because he disagreed with his stance.

Hradek, a senior reporter on the NHL Network, publicly ranted on air about Provorov’s decision to not partake in the Pride celebration, making some shockingly intolerant statements.

NHL Network Sr. reporter E.J. Hradek

“Ivan Provorov can get on a plane any day he wants and go back to a place where he feels more comfortable, take less money, and get on with his life that way if it’s that problematic for him,” Hradek seethed.

The reporter then suggested that Provorov wasn’t “assimilating” into “American culture” enough, and should therefore return to Russia. This statement was particularly shocking because it implies that everyone in America shares the same religious and personal beliefs.

“He’s been in North America for a long time,” continued Hradek. “He played in the Western Hockey League, he’s now been in Philadelphia for many years… if this is that much of a problem for him to maybe assimilate into his group of teammates and in the community and here in this country, that’s okay. Listen, you can feel any way you want. But the beauty is, if it bothers you that much, there’s always a chance to leave, go back where you feel more comfortable.”

Hradek then suggested that Provorov go back to Russia and join his country’s war against Ukraine.

“I understand there’s a conflict of sorts going on over there,” Hradek said, referencing the Russian-Ukrainian war. “Maybe get involved.”

Hradek, through his rant, suggested that everyone who comes to America must leave behind their cultural values, their religion, and their personal beliefs, or else they are not welcome here.

Although he was expected to publicly condemn his player, Flyers’ head coach John Tortorella refused to give into the pressure of the “tolerant” Leftist media. He impressively defended Provorov’s decision at a press conference Thursday morning.

The reporters asked Tortorella why he didn’t bench the 26-year-old player after he refused to wear the Pride jersey. Tortorella had a fantastic response for them.

“Why would I bench him?” He asked. “Because of a decision he’s making on his beliefs and his religion?”

“As I said, Provy did nothing wrong,” Tortorella continued. “Just because you don’t agree with his decision, doesn’t mean he did anything wrong.”

Tortorella explained that he felt as though his player did not act in a disrespectful way, and therefore should not be punished for his actions.

“Provy’s not out there banging a drum against Pride Night. He quietly went about his business. … Provy didn’t actively seek out and try and make a stand against it. He just felt he didn’t want to take warmup. I respect his decision.”

Tortorella also brought up a past incident where he tried denying his players the ability to express their personal beliefs. Back in 2016, when professional athletes were beginning to follow the lead of Colin Kaepernick by kneeling for the national anthem, he told ESPN that “if any of [his] players sit on the bench for the national anthem, they will sit there for the rest of the game.”

Reflecting on this statement, Tortorella said, “I bring up my situation because to this day, I still feel the same way about the flag. You shouldn’t be protesting when the anthem is played and you’re in front of that flag. … But I have no business to push my type of thought onto players at that particular time. Made a huge mistake back then.”

“That’s why I’m kind of putting it with this here,” Tortella added. “Provy knew he was going to have some blowback here. That’s part of the business. That’s part of what you go through. But I respect him, as far as staying true to himself as I said the other night.”

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