The New York Rangers celebrated their seventh annual Pride Night Friday, but there was something noticeably missing from the celebration.
After previously advertising that the team would wear pride-themed jerseys and use rainbow tape in warmups, players did neither.
When asked why the pride jerseys weren’t worn as previously planned, the Rangers released the following statement to Fox News Digital:
“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. In keeping with our organization’s core values, we support everyone’s individual right to respectfully express their beliefs.”
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One player told the New York Post he didn’t know why the jerseys were not worn.
The Rangers did have Andre Thomas, co-chair of the NYC Pride organization, for the ceremonial puck drop. They also made a contribution to the Ali Forney Center, an agency dedicated to homeless youths in the LGBTQ+ community.
The Blueshirts have worn the jerseys and used the tape in each of the previous two seasons. The jerseys have previously been auctioned for charity.
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The Rangers’ decision drew backlash.
USA Today labeled it a “botched” celebration, while others had opinions about why the team reversed course.
This comes two weeks after Philadelphia Flyers defenseman Ivan Provorov did not wear an LGBTQ-themed jersey during his team’s Pride Night, citing religious beliefs.
“I respect everybody and I respect everybody’s choices,” Provorov told reporters after the Jan. 19 game. “My choice is to stay true to myself and my religion. That’s all I’m going to say.”
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