Last week, the NHL decided to ban teams from wearing special Pride warmup jerseys before games, citing the “distraction” that boycotts could cause. And the people are not happy about that decision.
This week, several prominent people spoke to ESPN to express their displeasure with the league’s decision.
“In short, it hurts,” Mio Linzie, a queer artist who has collaborated with several NHL teams on Pride jerseys, told ESPN.
“It doesn’t only affect the LGBTQ+ community but it also affects other marginalized communities, as the warmup jerseys is a primary part of community outreach and charity within the NHL. It’s also been a space for artists to express themselves and be able to create unique work under the NHL — and that venue has now partly been taken away.”
The decision led to criticism from Dr. Philippe Rey, the executive director of Adolescent Counseling Services. The group supports LGBTQ+ teens and families and helped raise funds through the auction of San Jose Sharks Pride jerseys this season.
“It’s unfortunate the NHL has come to this decision, as events like Pride Night, where players wore Pride Night warmup jerseys, are a wonderful opportunity for players to show support to our LGBTQIA+ youth and spread a message of love and inclusivity,” Rey said in a statement to ESPN. “Gestures like this can mean a lot to LGBTQIA+ young people, who experience bullying and hate crimes, are four times more likely to commit suicide, and report feeling unsafe in our world today. Hopefully one day, showing support for other humans won’t be seen as a distraction.”
It’s safe to say it wasn’t a popular move by the NHL.