The Staal brothers' turn to refuse to wear the rainbow jersey
Brothers Eric and Marc Staal are the latest players to opt out of wearing their special team jersey in support of the LGBTQ+ community. Both players cited their faith in the Christian religion, as did James Reimer a few days ago.
“After many thoughts, prayers and discussions, we have decided not to wear the jersey. Pride tonight,” they wrote in a joint statement Thursday night. Their team, the Florida Panthers, faced the Toronto Maple Leafs at FLA Live Arena.
“We don't judge how people choose to live their lives, and we believe everyone should feel welcome in all aspects of hockey. That being said, we believe that wearing a Pride jersey goes against our Christian beliefs,” continued the two Ontario native men.
All other Panthers players, including including goalkeeper Sergei Bobrovsky, wore the special uniform. On Wednesday, the Chicago Blackhawks had also left the jersey aside, for a security reason for their Russian players. Some believe that the latter may be targeted because the country's government has criminalized LGBTQ+ “propaganda”.