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Philadelphia Flyers defenseman Ivan Provorov created quite the controversy last week when his decision to not wear a pride jersey during warmups prior to a National Hockey League game went public. Provorov was decried as a bigot on social media after claiming that he had made the decision due to his religious beliefs, a decision that the NHL would eventually come out in support of by declaring that players had the right to make their own decisions based on their religious beliefs.
That controversy it would seem has now extended to the New York Rangers after a planned pride night during a game at Madison Square Garden did not go according to plan. The Rangers sent out an email to their fans ahead of Friday night's game against the Las Vegas Golden Knights that indicated players would be wearing pride-themed jerseys during warmups and using pride-themed tape on their sticks, but that simply never happened.
The Rangers haven't released any statements regarding the sudden change of plans and when Rangers insider Mollie Walker of the New York Post did some digging there didn't seem to be any answers to be found.
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.”
Call me crazy but if I had to guess, and to be clear this is pure speculation, I would wager that the Rangers suddenly found themselves with players who wanted to follow in the aforementioned Provorov's footsteps by sitting out the warmups. Rather than risk another big controversy around a specific player, I suspect that the Rangers simply pulled the plug on the whole thing at the last minute while hoping that it wouldn't cause nearly as big of a stir.
If that was the plan it may very well have been successful. While there have been some negative comments on social media directed at the Rangers, it hasn't come anywhere close to the Provorov situation we saw only a few days ago, a situation that captured national headlines.