John Tortorella Nov 13, 2022; Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, USA; Philadelphia Flyers head coach John Tortorella against the Dallas Stars at Wells Fargo Center. Mandatory Credit: Eric Hartline-USA TODAY Sports

Philadelphia Flyers head coach John Tortorella remains the subject of heavy criticism after a fiasco earlier in the week during the Flyers’ Pride Night celebration.

Flyers defenseman Ivan Provorov became the subject of scrutiny after his refusal to participate in the team’s Pride Night event. Provorov, who cited religion as an excuse while being the only player not to participate, did not don the Pride-themed jersey or warmup stick made available to him.

Provorov, of Yaroslavl, Russia, follows the Russian Orthodox Church. He said earlier this week that while he respects everyone and their choices, “My choice is to stay true to myself and my religion.” This is despite persistent facts shown to indicate the contrary.

Flyers head coach John Tortorella, no stranger to media criticism himself, defended Provorov’s choice to not wear the jersey or use the stick. Tortorella then would offer another 10-toes-down defense of his player’s lack of participation.

“John Tortorella expanded further on his conversations with Ivan Provorov about not participating in Pride Night,” Giana Han tweeted. A quote from Tortorella read, “Yeah, yeah. As I said, Provy did nothing wrong,” Tortorella claimed according to Han. “Just because you don’t agree with his decision doesn’t mean he did anything wrong.” Tortorella then compared this situation to one that he, himself, faced recently.

The coach famously didn’t agree with the methods used by former NFL quarterback-turned-activist Colin Kaepernick. Most notably, his choice to not stand for the playing of the National Anthem.

The problem with Tortorella’s choice of comparisons here is that there’s a huge, unbelievably vast difference between the subjects. While they are both critically serious human rights issues, abstaining from the National Anthem just is not the same as publicly refusing to show support to the LGBTQ+ community and citing religion as the reason why.

As expected, Tortorella was ripped for his comments and comparison.

Adam Herman claimed the coach’s quotes are “just completely missing the point.”

Milwaukee-area reporter Dan Molloy called the situation a “complete mess.”

Hockey reporter and author Jashvina Shah sarcastically wrote, “Yes, protesting against police brutality is absolutely the same thing as believing LGBTQ+ people should not have rights. Totally.”

Evan Moore posted a meme that accurately described his and, likely plenty of others’ thoughts on the matter.

J.D. Burke came down hard on Torts. “You gotta respect him *really* going out of his way to admit he’s still actually a massive dumb baby about the anthem thing here as if there’s… any correlation between the two moments whatsoever? As if it adds some context to why he was cool with Provorov’s decision?”

[Giana Han]


About Chris Novak

Chris Novak has been talking and writing about sports ever since he can remember. Previously, Novak wrote for and managed sites in the SB Nation network for nearly a decade from 2013-2022