Here at the sports desk located somewhere below decks of the Good Pirate Ship RedState, while Sammy the Shark is counting down the days until the NHL draft lottery and Karl the Kraken is counting down the days until he can officially start printing playoff shirts, we freely admit we’ve been a bit lax in covering recent events. We missed the World Baseball Classic, and oh, to have been a fly on the wall in the Angels’ spring training clubhouse when Shohei Ohtani and Mike Trout reported post-WBC. Rumors are a Dodgers uniform with Ohtani’s name on it mysteriously appeared in his locker with a note attached reading, “Hope you look good in blue next year.” The 2024 I-5 series will be lit.
We haven’t missed March Madness, with emphasis on the madness aspect. Admit it, people: No one on this planet had a Final Four of whoever wins the San Diego State and Florida Atlantic game meeting the University of Connecticut and the University of Miami winner. No. One. Kick back and enjoy the joy of kids who aren’t supposed to be there but are there nonetheless, playing their hearts out.
Back to baseball. The regular season starts March 30, with all of the sport’s gaudy new rules designed to speed up the game or something. Bigger bases! Pitch clock! Batter clock! No more defensive shift! We at the sports desk don’t mind any of these, especially eliminating the shift. We’ll see how it plays out. No pun intended.
Football has been hopping this off-season, with free agent signing and trades for draft pick positioning a-plenty. When your team of choice Los Carneros de Los Ángeles puts out an open letter stating “No, really, we plan on being competitive this year,” you tend to worry.
We’ll talk about pro basketball when the playoffs start. Get your “I’m not watching” comments ready!
And last but certainly not least, hockey. While on the ice, the primary question has been, “Can anyone stop the Boston Bruins,” off-ice, the primary question has become, “Are you paying attention, wokesters and alphabet mafia?” First, there was Philadelphia Flyers defenseman Ivan Provorov refusing to appear in the pre-game warmup on his team’s “Pride” Night so he wouldn’t wear the accompanying rainbow-festooned jersey. Next, San Jose Sharks goalie James Reimer did the same, like Provorov citing his faith as reason:
Under the umbrella of the NHL’s “Hockey is for Everyone” initiative, the San Jose Sharks have chosen to wear jerseys in support of the LGBTQIA+ community tonight.
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. I have no hate in my heart for anyone, and I have always strived to treat everyone that I encounter with respect and kindness.
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.
I strongly believe that every person has value and worth, and the LGBTQIA+ community, like all others, should be welcomed in all aspects of the game of hockey.
Both Provorov and Reimer were pilloried in the press for staying true to their beliefs. Both saw the public react by … making their respective jerseys best-sellers.
The story has continued, both on the team and player level. On March 23, the Chicago Blackhawks had a “Pride” Night but decided against wearing special warmup jerseys for the stated reason of protecting the team’s Russian-born players. Also, on March 23, Florida Panthers teammates and real-life brothers Marc and Eric Staal opted out of wearing their team’s “Pride” Night jerseys.
After many thoughts, prayers, and discussions, we have chosen not to wear a pride jersey tonight.
We carry no judgment on how people choose to live their lives, and believe that all people should be welcome in all aspects of the game of hockey.
Having said that, we feel that by us wearing a pride jersey it goes against our Christian beliefs.
We hope you can respect this statement, we will not be speaking any further on this matter and would like to continue to focus on the game and helping the Florida Panthers win the Stanley Cup.
Eric and Marc Staal
While the usual ranters rave, the indisputable fact is that hockey players are standing up and speaking out on behalf of their beliefs. This should be welcomed and openly supported by all Christians and conservatives. We, too, have a right to have our voices heard and our beliefs respected. The massive media blowback is a welcome sign we are on the right course. We are not and never will be respected, but as a song by a band the media hated almost as much as they hate us says:
We are one
We are strong
The more you hold us down
The more we press on
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