Sports Athletes Who Refused to Vow to Wokeism and Tokenism
Ilya Samsonov – Toronto Maple Leaf Goaltender
2023: Maple Leaf’s professional ice hockey team based in Toronto joined the bandwagon of Canadian sports supporting the LGBTQ community. They wore PRIDE decals on their helmets during warmup.
However, Ilya Samsonov chose not to wear it. Many Russian players did the same thing in the NHL, with some of them saying they were concerned about repercussions in their home country.
Andrei Kuzmenko – Vancouver Canucks Left Wing
Andrei Kuzmenko (Alexandrovich Kuzmenko) is a Russian professional Ice Hockey player playing for the Vancouver Canucks of the National Hockey League. He chose not to wear the PRIDE jersey during warmup for the Pride Night game celebrating the 2SLGBTQIA+ community.
Ilya Lyubishkin – Buffalo Sabres Defenseman
2023: Buffalo Sabres defenseman Ilya Lyubushkin refused to wear LGBTQ-themed jerseys and so did not participate in the warmups for the National Hockey League’s (NHL) PRIDE Night.
Lyubishkin reasoned the “anti-gay Kremlin law” and the fear of retribution at home in Russia should he join the bandwagon of PRIDE. [ESPN]
James Reimer – Goalie
2023: San Jose Sharks goalie James Reimer opted not to wear the team’s specially designed warmup jersey before a game on Saturday night as the team celebrated Pride Night. [DW]
Reimer said, “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… every person has value and worth and should be “welcomed in all aspects in the game of hockey.“
However, Russians Nikolai Knyzhov and Alexander Barabanov wore the Pride-themed jerseys for the San Jose Sharks.
Ivan Provorov – NHL Defenseman
2023: NHL star Ivan Provorov refused to wear the “Rainbow Pride jersey” for warm-ups. The Philadelphia Flyers team was told to celebrate the “Pride Night for LGBTQ.” Provorov invoked his Christian faith and stood up to dissenters and the media. [NR]
“I respect everybody and I respect everybody’s choices. My choice is to stay true to myself and my religion.”— Greg Price (@greg_price11) January 18, 2023
Flyers defenseman Ivan Provorov on refusing to wear a rainbow jersey for warm ups during “Pride Night” due to his Russian Orthodox faith.
Riley Patterson – Football Placekicker
2023: After kicking the game-winning field goal, sealing a historic 27-point comeback, Jaguars kicker Riley Patterson removed his cross necklace and held it up for the camera.
What he did was unusual and controversial, as athletes who invoked their religious faith may face a penalty.
Neymar da Silva Santos Júnior – Football Forward
2021: Brazilian star Neymar, a Christian, often wore the “Jesus headband.” He was slapped with an ‘ethical clause’ or faced a penalty. He was told to avoid any religious or political propaganda. [DailyMail]
In 2016, Neymar’s headband with the words “100% Jesus” was allegedly removed digitally in a video by FIFA played for the Ballon d’Or gala.
Rays pitchers – Adam, Beeks, Raley, Springs, Thompson
2022: The Tampa Bay Rays team was supposed to wear special jerseys and caps sporting the rainbow-colored logo for “Pride Night at Tropicana Field.”
Five Rays pitchers opted out. Jason Adam, Jalen Beeks, Brooks Raley, Jeffrey Springs, and Ryan Thompson “peeled off” the logo and wore the team’s standard cap. [Tampa Bay Times]