The NY Rangers Pride Night on Friday was botched in rather epic fashion. Marketing the event with pride jerseys being worn during warmups and then to be auctioned off for charity following, that part of the evening was cancelled. It’s bad that it was cancelled, but it was unannounced, disappointing thousands and leaving an entire section of Ranger fans feeling hurt by miscommunication and cowardice. It’s not hard to wear a jersey for a little bit, and the Rangers couldn’t even do that.
Making matters worse is the players, who from what Mollie Walker is reporting wanted to be a part of the evening, were unaware of the change and not given a chance to vote on wearing the jerseys. That right was taken from them by someone. Per Walker, the Rangers made a half-hearted attempt at a statement to address the issue:
“Our organization respects the LGBTQ+ community and we are proud to bring attention to important local community organizations as part of another great Pride Night,” the Rangers said in a statement. “In keeping with our organization’s core values, we support everyone’s individual right to respectfully express their beliefs.”
With the players unaware, and the league stating it was up to each individual team, then we are left to believe the decision was made by someone high up in the Rangers organization. We are not going to speculate who, but there are only a few people that can make a decision like that.
While the Rangers did many things right, including a “pledge to make a donation to the Ali Forney Center, again per the NY Post, the jerseys and subsequent auctions are overshadowing what should have been a great night for everyone in support of people who need it the most. Could you imagine if something like this happened for Hockey Fights Cancer Night? Or Military Appreciation Night?
My words mean very little here. Instead, I put a general call out to the LGBTQ+ community to message me if they wanted their thoughts heard. It’s only been 12 hours, but I had a few people reach out. Most messages were expressing general frustration over the lack of communication, messaging, and reasoning behind this. There was one person, that will remain anonymous until I hear back if they want their information to be known, who expressed deeper thoughts.
Hi David. As a queer hockey fan I’m completely gutted by how the Rangers handled that. I’ve been a fan my whole life, grew up playing Ice Hockey in Harlem and meeting the Rangers who would sometimes stop by. But what the organization did was a slap in the face to all me members of our community who watch hockey.
To take away the image of our favorite players wearing rainbow and supporting us… it really really hurt. I feel [terrible] for anyone who bought tickets, expecting to see support, only to be disappointed by the bait and switch for warmups.
It’s important for the largest organizations in the league to lead when it comes to inclusion, and since the Rangers downplayed Pride Night, Twitter has been even more toxic. It’s emboldened the homophobes and bigots. I have people calling me a pervert and a groomer just for criticizing the way the team handled things. It’s so much bigger than hockey and it hurts so much to see how little the organization cares about gay fans.
This would NEVER happen to military appreciation or police night. Those are jobs, this is who we are, and the Rangers showed that they would rather bow down to people trying to take away our rights than stand up for equality and inclusivity in the game.
There has been nothing from the Rangers beyond their generic statement addressing this issue they created themselves. There has been no word of a donation to the charity(ies) the auctions would have supported. Per ESPN’s Greg Wyshynski, even NYC Pride was unaware of the changes. It’s clear the Rangers reacted to the Ivan Provorov situation in Philadelphia, and did so poorly. Communication was never strong with the Rangers, and this was yet another botched communication that impacted millions.
With the Rangers on their bye week and the All Star break, there will likely be no further information available until February.
Valerie also recommended The Trevor Project, which helps with suicide prevention and mental health protection for LGBTQ+ youth. You can donate by clicking here. A $500 donation has been made on behalf of Blue Seat Blogs.
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