National Hockey League Commissioner Gary Bettman recently announced that players will no longer wear LGBT pride warmup jerseys after some players refused to wear them because of their religious beliefs.
During an interview with Sportsnet last week, Bettman explained that the board voted to make this change because the specialty cause jersey had "become a distraction."
Teams, however, will still be able to host specialty nights like Pride Night, Black History Night, and Military Appreciation Night and can design, sell, and model specialty jerseys for the occasion, as long as players do not wear them on the ice.
"Our clubs, in some form or another, host nights in honor of various groups or causes. We rather them continue to get the appropriate attention that they deserve and not be a distraction," Bettman told the outlet after the NHL Board of Governors meeting.
"Players who choose to model [the specialty jerseys] can do that. It's really just the question of what's on the ice," Betterman added.
According to The Christian Post, Betterman's remarks reflected a major shift in NHL policy.
In January, Philadelphia Flyers defenseman Ivan Provorov, who has since been traded to the Columbus Blue Jackets, refused to wear a pride night-themed warmup jersey due to his Russian Orthodox religious beliefs.
San Jose Sharks goaltender James Reimer and brothers Eric and Marc Staal of the Florida Panthers have also cited their religious beliefs in their decisions not to don the specialty jerseys.
As Christian Headlines previously reported, Reimer refused to wear NHL pride-themed jerseys for his team's pregame warmups back in March due to his Christian beliefs.
"For all 13 years of my NHL career, I have been a Christian, not just in title but in how I choose to live my life daily. I have a personal faith in Jesus Christ who died on the cross for my sins and, in response, asks me to love everyone and follow Him," Reimer said in a statement at the time.
"I have no hate in my heart for anyone, and I havex always strived to treat everyone that I encounter with respect and kindness," he added. "In this specific instance, I am choosing not to endorse something that is counter to my personal convictions, which are based on the Bible, the highest authority in my life."
"The [LGBT] community, like all others, should be welcomed in all aspects of the game of hockey," Reimer's statement concluded.
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Milton Quintanilla is a freelance writer and content creator. He is a contributing writer for Christian Headlines and the host of the For Your Soul Podcast, a podcast devoted to sound doctrine and biblical truth. He holds a Masters of Divinity from Alliance Theological Seminary.