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19 Jan, 2023 14:31

Hockey pundit wants Russian player kicked out of US after LGBT snub (VIDEO)

Ivan Provorov declined to wear a Pride-themed jersey in a pre-game warmup
Hockey pundit wants Russian player kicked out of US after LGBT snub (VIDEO)

A prominent NHL analyst has called upon Philadelphia Flyers star Ivan Provorov to return to Russia if he cannot accept American ideals, after he snubbed the team’s Pride-themed celebrations this week.

Provorov, 26, declined to take part in a pre-game warmup this week in which his teammates wore rainbow colors on their jerseys, telling the media afterwards that while he “respect[s] everybody and respect[s] everybody’s choices” he chose not to do so because it clashed with his religious beliefs.

My choice is to stay true to myself and my religion. That’s all I’m going to say,” he added after his side's 5-2 win against the Anaheim Ducks, in which he played around 23 minutes.

Provorov’s stance was respected by his coach, John Tortorella, who said that if would be “unfair” to penalize the player due to his beliefs and added that he admired the Russian for “always [being] true to himself.”

The Flyers did not reference the player during a statement following the game, saying only that they “will continue to be strong advocates for inclusivity and the LGBTQ+ community.”

But one figure who didn’t back Provorov’s freedom of expression was NHL senior analyst E.J. Hradek, who said on a broadcast on Wednesday that he should return to Russia if he is unprepared to support Western ideologies.

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 said.

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 OK. 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 to where you feel more comfortable – I understand there’s a conflict of sorts going on over there, maybe get involved.”

However, in their own statement on the matter the NHL disavowed any criticism towards Provorov for staying true to his own beliefs.

In their own statement, the NHL said that players have the ultimate authority when it comes to which causes they choose to support.

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.

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