The demand for tolerance long ago became the demand that we all endorse the Left’s values and mores. The Philadelphia Flyers NHL team accordingly aroused no controversy when it designated Tuesday its “annual Pride Night celebration.” All the sports teams have them now, although for some reason they’ve been slower to adopt Anger Night, Lust Night, and Sloth Night. The team, however, found that not everyone was willing to play along with the Left’s totalitarian bullying. Flyers defenseman Ivan Provorov refused to don the Flyers’ special rainbow gear for the night, citing his Russian Orthodox faith as the reason. It takes courage to make oneself a target for the wrath of the intolerant woke fascists; in this age of pandemic cowardice, Provorov has made a heroic stand.
“Prior to the game,” the Flyers announced happily on Tuesday, Flyers players will wear special Pride-themed warmup jerseys and use warm-up sticks wrapped in rainbow Pride tape. Both the jerseys and sticks will be auctioned off by Flyers Charities following the game with proceeds going to Flyers Charities and their efforts to grow the game of hockey in diverse communities.” The Flyers like their communities “diverse,” but this doesn’t extend to diversity of thought; everyone was expected to don the rainbow jerseys and use the rainbow sticks. Provorov enunciated his dissent, however, in the politest of terms: “I respect everyone. I respect everybody’s choices,” he said. “My choice is to stay true to myself and my religion.”
Aye, there’s the rub. In the woke world, someone like Provorov doesn’t get a choice. The Left is all about “choice” for other Leftists only, not for dissidents. And so, in response to Provorov’s stand, the Flyers felt the need to bolster their woke bona fides, issuing a statement saying, “The Philadelphia Flyers organization is committed to inclusivity and is proud to support the local LGBTQ+ community. Many of our players are active in their support of local LGBTQ+ organizations, and we were proud to host our annual Pride Night again this year. The Flyers will continue to be strong advocates for inclusivity and the LGBTQ+ community.” Translation: Please, Leftists, don’t hurt us! Don’t bar us from polite society! This heretic doesn’t represent us! We’ll be good, we promise!
John Tortorella, the coach of the Flyers, tried to play both ends against the middle, bowing to the woke fascists while not throwing Provorov under the bus. He affirmed that the Flyers’ statement had enunciated “the beliefs that we have” and asserted that Pride Night was “really a great night.” Then he added, “With Provy, uh, uh, he — he’s being true to himself and to his religion. Thi— This has to do wi— with his belief in his religion. And it’s one thing I respect about Provy: he’s is always true to himself, uh, and so that’s where I’m with that.” Aware that the media would be avid to begin attacking Provorov, Tortorella then said he wouldn’t be answering any more questions about the incident, although he did say that he didn’t consider benching Provorov for angering the woke gods. Provorov played twenty-two minutes during the Flyers’ Pride Night game with the Anaheim Ducks.
The woke brigades were predictably enraged at Provorov for not offering incense to their gods. Rachel Millanta, the lead writer on Major League Baseball and the National Hockey League for BetMGM, tweeted some segments of her catechism and demanded that Provorov be punished for his refusal to submit: “Being LGBT+ is not a ‘choice.’ Being ignorant, obnoxious, and homophobic is a choice. Ivan Provorov wasn’t wearing uniform tonight and the @NHLFlyers should not have let him play. Stop letting bigots hide behind their cherry-picked religion. Do better.”
Steph Driver, the NHL Editorial Manager for SBNation, likewise called for the freethinker to be burned at the stake: “Ivan Provorov was allowed to play in a game for the Philadelphia Flyers – the organization that was the first to say that you will be removed from the arena if you utter a homophobic slur – after refusing to wear a Pride logo for warm ups. What an absolute disgrace.” A. J. Perez, a senior reporter for Front Office Sports, added: “It takes so little effort to be an ally, to want everyone in the sport I love most to feel welcome. My main stick will always sport @PrideTape. Ivan Provorov is just the latest reminder how parts of hockey remain toxic.”
The establishment media, the NHL, and the culture being what they are, this isn’t going to die down anytime soon. Provorov could end up being suspended or even banned from the league. For his willingness to stand on principle and not be bullied or intimidated into submission by the intolerant and hate-filled forces of “tolerance,” he is the hero we need today. May many others emulate him.