Brothers cite religion for decision to skip warm-ups as Panthers celebrate inclusivity in sport.
Florida Panthers celebrated inclusivity in sports by wearing pride jerseys during their warm-up session before the game against Detroit Red Wings on Tuesday night. However, not all players were on board with the initiative.
Eric and Marc Staal, brothers who both play for the Red Wings team, declined to wear Pride jerseys during the warm-up session. The brothers cited their religious beliefs as a reason for skipping out on this event.
The Pride jersey is an initiative taken by many sporting organizations across North America to show support for LGBTQ+ individuals and promote equality within sports. The NHL has been actively promoting these initiatives since its first-ever "You Can Play" campaign back in 2013.
However, while some players like Aleksander Barkov of Florida Panthers fully embraced this movement and wore a rainbow-colored jersey; others like Eric and Marc Staal declined to participate citing their religious beliefs as reasons for doing so.
In an interview after the game, Eric explained that he was raised with certain values that he holds dear even now. He said that while he respects everyone's individual rights and freedoms, his personal beliefs prevent him from wearing such attire publicly.
Marc echoed similar sentiments saying that although they love hockey just like any other player out there; sometimes things come up where they have different opinions or views about certain things which may not align with what others believe or stand for - including those related to social issues such as LGTBQ+ rights advocacy movements etcetera."
The response has been mixed among fans following these comments made by two respectable hockey players who have made names themselves in NHL over time because of how well they've played together throughout their careers thus far – especially considering how much emphasis is placed nowadays on supporting diversity and inclusion initiatives within sports circles everywhere.