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NHL Commissioner Gary Bettman: No Gay Pride, LGTBQ or 'specialty' Jerseys mandates next year



LAS VEGAS, NEVADA: NHL commissioner Gary Bettman prepares to present the Stanley Cup to the Vegas Golden Knights after a 9-3 victory against the Florida Panthers in Game Five of the 2023 NHL Stanley Cup Final at T-Mobile Arena on June 13, 2023. (Photo by Jeff Bottari/NHLI via Getty Images)


Declaring that gay pride jerseys in the NHL has become too much of a distraction, Commissioner Gary Bettman said Thursday that teams will no longer be mandated to wear any "specialty" sweaters or jerseys during warmups.


The fact that his reversal came during Pride Month seemed to send a message that he was determined not to let the NHL to go down the same rabbit hole as the Bud Light beer brand, which saw sales crash to record lows after being accused of cowing to the woke agenda and the LGTBQ community.


"I've suggested that it would be appropriate for clubs not to change their jerseys in warmups because it's become a distraction and taking away from the fact that all of our clubs in some form or another host nights in honor of various groups or causes," Bettman said Thursday in an interview with Sportsnet following an NHL board of governors meeting in New York.


"And we rather them continue to get the appropriate attention that they deserve and not be a distraction. Players who choose to model them can do that," Bettman said. "It's really just the question of what's on the ice."


What's on ice is NHL players being forced to wear gay pride jerseys that go against their Christian beliefs. Several high-profile incidents involving players refusing to wear LGTBQ-themed jerseys during the 2022-23 NHL season forced Bettman's hand.


The NHL player rebellion began in January when players began publicly balking at wearing the Pride Night-themed warmup sweater - citing religious beliefs .


According to a report, all 32 teams held Pride or Hockey Is for Everyone night this past season, but seven players decided not to take part in pregame warmups when their teams donned Pride jerseys. A few teams also decided not to have players wear the specialty sweaters after having planned to do so.


"In the final analysis, all of the efforts and emphasis on the importance of these various causes have been undermined by the distraction in terms of which teams, which players," Bettman said. "This way, we're keeping the focus on the game, and on these specialty nights, we're going to be focused on the cause."


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