On Tuesday night, Philadelphia Flyers‘ Ivan Provorov refused to wear a gay pride warm-up jersey on the team’s Pride Night, citing religious beliefs.
Provorov’s move has garnered plenty of criticism, even by the NHL’s own reporters.
On Wednesday’s edition of “NHL Now” on the NHL Network, senior reporter E.J. Hradek gave Provorov, who is Russian, an ultimatum.
“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.”
Provorov has been labeled “homophobic” for the move, despite saying he “respect[s] everybody and respect[s] everybody’s choices.”
“My choice is to stay true to myself and my religion. That’s all I’m going to say,” he said after the game.
In a statement released Tuesday night, the Flyers said they are “committed to inclusivity and is proud to support the LGBTQ+ community.
“Many of our players are active in their support of local LGBTQ+ organizations, and we were proud to host out annual Pride Night again this year,” they said. “The Flyers will continue to be strong advocates for inclusivity and the LGBTQ+ community.”
Head coach John Tortorella said it would have been “unfair” to bench Provorov for his beliefs, adding that he respects Provorov for “always [being] true to himself.”
The league said on Wednesday that “players are free to decide which initiatives to support, and we continue to encourage their voices and perspectives on social and cultural issues.”
The league has not responded to Fox News Digital’s request for comment regarding Hradek’s sentiments.