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Russian Orthodox Christian NHL Player Says Not Wearing 'Pride' Jersey Due to His Faith

© Sputnik / Alexey Kudenko / Go to the mediabank Ivan Provorov, a Russian player in the National Hockey League (NHL)
 Ivan Provorov, a Russian player in the National Hockey League (NHL) - Sputnik International, 1920, 18.01.2023
WASHINGTON (Sputnik) - Ivan Provorov, a Russian player in the National Hockey League (NHL), sparked controversy on Tuesday night after declining to wear a jersey with LGBTQ+ "Pride" markings during pregame warmups with fellow members of the Philadelphia Flyers team, citing religious objections.
"I respect everybody’s choices. My choice is to stay true to myself and my religion," Provorov told reporters.
Provorov, born in Yaroslavl, Russia, is a member of the Russian Orthodox Church.
Provorov has played for the Philadelphia Flyers for his entire NHL career, which began in 2016, and has also represented Russia at various international hockey events.
Other members of the Flyers team wore the Pride-themed jerseys and wrapped their hockey sticks in the movement’s signature rainbow colors during the pregame warmups ahead of a game against the Anaheim Ducks on Tuesday night.
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Provorov’s decision drew criticism from some members of the public and hockey media, including calls for the Flyers to ban him from playing in the game. However, Flyers coach John Tortorella defended Provorov’s decision in a statement following the game.
"With [Provorov], he is being true to himself and to his religion," Tortorella told reporters. "It’s one thing I respect about Provy: he’s always true to himself."
The Flyers went on to beat the Ducks with a final score of 5-2.
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