Pride Month is something that is celebrated by millions annually in the month of June to dedicated to the celebration of the LGBTQIA+ community. Most sports leagues recognize and run promotions to celebrate the month as well, but one sports league is opting not to do so moving forward.
The NHL has reportedly made the decision to no longer have teams wear designated Pride jerseys during warmups moving forward. NHL Commissioner Gary Bettman revealed in an interview that the Board of Governors for the league has decided that teams will no longer wear any specialty jerseys of any sort.
“I suggested that it would be appropriate for clubs to not change their jerseys in warmups,” Bettman said in an interview with SportsNet. “It has become a distraction and taking away from the fact that all of our clubs in some form or another host nights to honor various groups or causes. We would rather they get the appropriate attention that they deserve and not be a distraction.”
Bettman was then asked about the decision to do this during Pride Month, and how some could see that as insensitive. He again called these jerseys a distraction, saying that they take away from promotions held by teams.
“Those are legitimate concerns. But in the final analysis, all of the efforts and emphasis on the importance of these causes have been undermined by the distractions.
Many hockey fans took notice of this news, with most suggesting that this is largely a cop-out answer from Bettman and that these jerseys actually help these promotional nights in some instances.
leave it to the nhl — during pride month, mind you — to eliminate specialty jerseys, like pride night jerseys, from warmups. absolutely tone-deaf stuff from gary bettman and the league here good god.
— zach (@zjlaing) June 22, 2023
Cowardice by the NHL Board of Governors, especially during Pride month. I look forward to a response from @NJDevils as they have been an organization at the forefront of inclusivity https://t.co/6XZ1z1ZTr0
— Josh Reinitz (@jreinitzesq) June 22, 2023
For Pride Month. the NHL has decided to show its support by … https://t.co/55F6a9u8kg
— Scott Powers (@ByScottPowers) June 22, 2023
It's so disappointing that people and leagues get bullied into not doing what's right. Letting these people have their way is disappointing, a bad day for the NHL, especially during pride month. https://t.co/cREPO3TgXj
— Apperation (@Apperation14) June 22, 2023
— William Nylander Fan (@DrewNolan_) June 22, 2023
It is even worse that this decision was actually made presently during Pride Month, which very clearly sends the wrong message to fans about their league.
On top of that, other special causes will also no longer have cool specialized jerseys go along with them, including Hockey Fights Cancer, military appreciation night, and St. Patrick’s Day.
NHL confirmed to me that the ban on teams wearing specialty jerseys in warmup includes league-mandated campaigns like Hockey Fights Cancer, military appreciation and St. Patrick's Day
— Patrick Johnston (@risingaction) June 22, 2023