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Forums :: Blog World :: Paul Stewart: Take a Stand... For Being a Teammate
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Paul Stewart
Joined: 10.14.2013

Jan 20 @ 10:19 AM ET
Paul Stewart: Take a Stand... For Being a Teammate
copelal
Philadelphia Flyers
Location: Baltimore, MD
Joined: 03.12.2014

Jan 20 @ 12:40 PM ET
Mr. Stewart - As much as I like your columns, I have to disagree with this. From what I understand, the club and the player put their heads together on this before the warmups - as opposed to the player just dropping it on them with no advanced notice - and came up with this as their agreed-upon solution to respecting the player's beliefs, while minimizing the waves the move makes.

And to use your logic, if, by some crazy set of circumstances, a team decided en masse before a game to attack an opposing player or official because of some perceived slight, no matter how ridiculous and brazen this may be, then any player not participating would have to be branded a selfish, non-team person?
Hokeeguy9
Philadelphia Flyers
Location: Bethlehem, PA
Joined: 06.25.2012

Jan 20 @ 1:08 PM ET
Hey Paul,

You know I read your column and agree with most of your views. I even comment from time to time in alignment. However, in this case I take a different view.

While I agree you are part of a team and don’t want to embarrass the club, I still take no issue with his stance. Yes, I have family and friends in the LGBTQ Community, and I’ve spoken to 4or 5 so far that have all had the same stance. They believe that “forcing” someone to take part in something they don’t feel good about, is counterproductive. No one changes hearts or minds by force. In fact it does the opposite.

No one ever said that hockey is not for the LGBTQ Community. Mr Provorov did not denounce or disparage anyone in any way. He merely exercised his actions according to his own beliefs. There are so many examples of situations that posters on other blogs point out, that it would be impossible to please everyone about everything. Just look at the can of worms some in the trans community opened up about identifying as a particular gender or non binary person. Would you like to have a biological man who today identifies as a woman, non binary, etc. using the same bathroom or locker room as your 12 year old daughter?

Do we have Christian, Jewish, or Muslim night at the arenas. And force players to wear crosses, yalmika’s, etc.

It’s gotten to the point of no longer acceptance and inclusion, now you celebrate, and conform, or the woke mob tries to destroy you. The LGBTQ Community I know, does not want that. They just want to live their lives without being marginalized, or ostracized. I believe we have reached that status. level.

The biggest mistake made was by the league, to wade in on politics. They did it to appease the sponsors and advertisers. Most companies do everything to affect the bottom line, and nothing else.

Bottom line, You punish those that would discriminate, or harm any group. That’s the law, and we should vigorously adhere to it. However, punishing someone for their preferences is wrong, and counterproductive to equality.

PghPens668771
Pittsburgh Penguins
Joined: 11.26.2013

Jan 20 @ 3:58 PM ET
Paul, I have to respectfully disagree with this blog.

2) Wearing a warmup jersey that has rainbow-colored numbering and lettering but is otherwise identical -- including the team logo, by the way -- to the ones worn daily at practice does not equate to the wearer taking or endorsing a political stance. The ONLY statements are these: I am a member of this team. We step onto the ice together as a team and whatever differences of opinions or ideologies we have once we leave the building mean nothing. We check those at the door. Here, I support my teammates.


So by that logic, if the team decided to wear a jersey with a hammer and sickle on it or one with a swastika on it and the players went out on the ice wearing it, that would not necessarily mean that each player was endorsing communism or nazism? Perhaps not, but it would mean a great deal of diffidence (going with the flow) and/or cowardice on the part of each player, which is precisely how those regimes came to power and in the case of communism, maintained power for so long. Sadly, most people are diffident cowards (and often turn to hypocrites when the current trends do a 180). Provorov is not.

I am not trying to draw an equivalence here between these systems of government and the LGBTQ+ lifestyle but wearing any type of pride item is endorsing the LGBTQ+ lifestyle or at the very least, gives a strong impression of it. It is extremely political no matter the circumstance. If I wear a shirt that has a beer brand logo on it everyone will just assume that I like that brand of beer. Perhaps someone gave me the shirt and it just happened to be what was in my drawer and I do not really care for the beer but that is not the impression I give by wearing the shirt. If I really do not like the beer and do not want anyone to think that I do then I should not wear the shirt. There are some people who find the LGBTQ+ lifestyle immoral and do not want to endorse it. That does not mean that they are "haters" and hate the people who live it - just that they find the lifestyle wrong. Coercing them to endorse it is tyranny and oppression.
RC Atchisson
St Louis Blues
Location: St. Louis, MO
Joined: 12.02.2022

Jan 20 @ 4:44 PM ET
Under the guise of "understanding" and "openess", you slight the decision made by a person of faith. Wearing a jersey that, however tacitly or explicitly, runs contrary to that faith should not be expected nor should he be castigated or demeaned for his choice not to.

While pretending to frame this as a "hockey" decision, you are missing the Christian forest for the secular trees, and in doing so reveal how little you respect Provorov's worldview.

And to paraphrase someone who apparently has no sense of what "faith" truly means, when you accept Christ, you put Him above all else.

To that end:
If the world hate you, ye know that it hated me before it hated you.If ye were of the world, the world would love his own: but because ye are not of the world, but I have chosen you out of the world, therefore the world hateth you. -- John 15:18-19

You don't have to subscribe, but you cannot argue that.

szandor
Season Ticket Holder
Philadelphia Flyers
Location: Charlotte, NC
Joined: 06.26.2007

Jan 21 @ 12:35 PM ET
I think the whole thing is a matter of semantics. There have been several “Hockey Is For Everyone” nights that Provorov has participated in, and they DID include the LGBTQ community. My perspective is that the issue was “Pride” Night. The word itself encourages and celebrates a lifestyle he didn’t agree with on a religious level.

Look at it like this. If someone in your family is an alcoholic. Not recovering, not trying to stop, just enjoying life the way they are. You can absolutely love that person and not agree with how they are living their life. If you get together with this person, you are not going to go to a bar. You’re going to go to a coffee shop, or a park, somewhere without alcohol. You want to love them and enjoy their company but not encourage a behavior you don’t agree with.

When all is said and done. He quietly stepped away from a situation he didn’t agree with. He didn’t condemn anyone, didn’t go out wearing a regular jersey to “take a stand”, just slipped into the background so he didn’t celebrate and encourage something he didn’t believe.

As always, I look forward to your next article.
Paul Stewart
Joined: 10.14.2013

Jan 21 @ 2:44 PM ET
As I said in the blog, Philadelphia (like every team) has players every bit as religious as Provorov and many who are as/more politically conservative. Yet every player in their room decided to be a member of the team, except for one.

His teammates will coexist with him on the ice but they won't forget that one guy put himself above his team. It won't play out in public -- they'll coexist on the ice -and play it down to the press because it does more harm than good to air it publicly - but they won't forget.

This INCLUDES the players who share Provorov's personal/political beliefs but participated out of respect to the team leaders in the room who helped organize it and, even beyond that, participated as a statement of solidarity to the team. No one player is bigger than the team. Every guy but one realized that.

This comes from decades of personal experience being in and around hockey dressing rooms. Provorov will now carry the rep as a bad teammate wherever he goes in the NHL. This also apparently wasn't the first time he's isolated himself from the team; just the most publicly visible. You are part of the team, through good and bad and through team decisions you agree with and disagree with. There's no halfway in. Halfway in means you've choosen to be out.

Why do you think Scott Laughton (apparently the most respected player in the room by the entire group, and the only player that Tortorella put a letter on his sweater) said "conversations have been had and will continue to be had" or words to that effect? It was discussed before the player did it but that doesn't mean it sat well with the team, especially the guys who checked their own opinions at the door for the sake of team unity. It will play out after the season, not while it's ongoing. But it won't be forgotten. It will come up in exit meetings with the team leaders and the team leaders will be asked, on behalf of the team, is this guy a teammate you can go forward with?
I've been in those meetings on both the playing and officiating sides (as a ref and later a supervisor/director). That is where this is going to come up again.

I'm not debating anyone's politics or theology here. I'm not smart enough to have those answers. I'm talking about the hockey team dynamic here.

But for those who still want to disagree with me, I'll ask you these two questions:

1) Should anyone who wants to play feel welcomed to do so?
2) Should someone who enjoys hockey as a fan feel welcomed to bring anyone they choose -- spouse, domestic partner, whatever -- along with them to a game?

That's what Hockey Is For Everyone stands for.

And that, as Forest Gump would say, is all I have to say about that.
Hokeeguy9
Philadelphia Flyers
Location: Bethlehem, PA
Joined: 06.25.2012

Jan 21 @ 4:21 PM ET
As I said in the blog, Philadelphia (like every team) has players every bit as religious as Provorov and many who are as/more politically conservative. Yet every player in their room decided to be a member of the team, except for one.

His teammates will coexist with him on the ice but they won't forget that one guy put himself above his team. It won't play out in public -- they'll coexist on the ice -and play it down to the press because it does more harm than good to air it publicly - but they won't forget.

This INCLUDES the players who share Provorov's personal/political beliefs but participated out of respect to the team leaders in the room who helped organize it and, even beyond that, participated as a statement of solidarity to the team. No one player is bigger than the team. Every guy but one realized that.

This comes from decades of personal experience being in and around hockey dressing rooms. Provorov will now carry the rep as a bad teammate wherever he goes in the NHL. This also apparently wasn't the first time he's isolated himself from the team; just the most publicly visible. You are part of the team, through good and bad and through team decisions you agree with and disagree with. There's no halfway in. Halfway in means you've choosen to be out.

Why do you think Scott Laughton (apparently the most respected player in the room by the entire group, and the only player that Tortorella put a letter on his sweater) said "conversations have been had and will continue to be had" or words to that effect? It was discussed before the player did it but that's mean it sat well with the team, especially the guys who checked their own opinions at the door for the sake of team unity. It will play out after the season, not while it's ongoing. But it won't be forgotten. It will come up in exit meetings with the team leaders and the team leaders will be asked, on behalf of the team, is this guy a teammate you can go forward with?
I've been in those meetings on both the playing and officiating sides (as a ref and later a supervisor/director). That is where this is going to come up again.

I'm not debating anyone's politics or theology here. I'm not smart enough to have those answers. I'm talking about the hockey team dynamic here.

But for those who still want to disagree with me, I'll ask you these two questions:

1) Should anyone who wants to play feel welcomed to do so?
2) Should someone who enjoys hockey as a fan feel welcomed to bring anyone they choose -- spouse, domestic partner, whatever -- along with them to a game?

That's what Hockey Is For Everyone stands for.

And that, as Forest Gump would say, is all I have to say about that.

- Paul Stewart


Hey Paul,

I don’t believe the players of today care that much about what another teammate thinks or does. The days of players being a family and going to war with each other are gone. A player looking for a new contract, can leave his teammates for a few hundred grand on a $10mil deal. They are more high paid mercenaries than brothers in arms, so your belief that it won’t be forgotten seems to come from a pint in hockey history that is sadly, long since passed.

As for the two questions, I’ll take a stab:
1. Of course. And that’s the point of divide. Just because a person doesn’t “celebrate” or make a big deal of their participation, doesn’t mean they aren’t welcome. Just live your own true life, and we’ll all get along fine. Segregating groups and identity politics, divides. It’s not unifying at all.

2. Yes, again. Why would someone feel unwelcome in this circumstance. Mr Provorov didn’t disparage, threaten, demean, or chastise anyone by the actions he took.

It seems you’re taking the stance that anyone who doesn’t “conform” to group think or actions is in need being marginalized, admonished or ostracized.
By doing so, negatively reinforces their thoughts.

At some point, Mr Provorov may find a way to reconcile a how to be true to himself and appease the surrounding crowd. But in the end, it is his choice, and should be respected, just as we have learned to respect and accept others.
Sir_Robot_Farts
Philadelphia Flyers
Joined: 08.27.2020

Jan 21 @ 7:13 PM ET
I'm shocked that you see things this way.

Just kidding, totally predictable. Good thing there arent any Muslims in the NHL, cant imagine how you would treat them over this.
Sir_Robot_Farts
Philadelphia Flyers
Joined: 08.27.2020

Jan 21 @ 7:19 PM ET
As I said in the blog, Philadelphia (like every team) has players every bit as religious as Provorov and many who are as/more politically conservative. Yet every player in their room decided to be a member of the team, except for one.

His teammates will coexist with him on the ice but they won't forget that one guy put himself above his team. It won't play out in public -- they'll coexist on the ice -and play it down to the press because it does more harm than good to air it publicly - but they won't forget.

This INCLUDES the players who share Provorov's personal/political beliefs but participated out of respect to the team leaders in the room who helped organize it and, even beyond that, participated as a statement of solidarity to the team. No one player is bigger than the team. Every guy but one realized that.

This comes from decades of personal experience being in and around hockey dressing rooms. Provorov will now carry the rep as a bad teammate wherever he goes in the NHL. This also apparently wasn't the first time he's isolated himself from the team; just the most publicly visible. You are part of the team, through good and bad and through team decisions you agree with and disagree with. There's no halfway in. Halfway in means you've choosen to be out.

Why do you think Scott Laughton (apparently the most respected player in the room by the entire group, and the only player that Tortorella put a letter on his sweater) said "conversations have been had and will continue to be had" or words to that effect? It was discussed before the player did it but that doesn't mean it sat well with the team, especially the guys who checked their own opinions at the door for the sake of team unity. It will play out after the season, not while it's ongoing. But it won't be forgotten. It will come up in exit meetings with the team leaders and the team leaders will be asked, on behalf of the team, is this guy a teammate you can go forward with?
I've been in those meetings on both the playing and officiating sides (as a ref and later a supervisor/director). That is where this is going to come up again.

I'm not debating anyone's politics or theology here. I'm not smart enough to have those answers. I'm talking about the hockey team dynamic here.

But for those who still want to disagree with me, I'll ask you these two questions:

1) Should anyone who wants to play feel welcomed to do so?
2) Should someone who enjoys hockey as a fan feel welcomed to bring anyone they choose -- spouse, domestic partner, whatever -- along with them to a game?

That's what Hockey Is For Everyone stands for.

And that, as Forest Gump would say, is all I have to say about that.

- Paul Stewart


What about the people who dont support pride night? Is there room for those people with your bullpoop logic?
Sir_Robot_Farts
Philadelphia Flyers
Joined: 08.27.2020

Jan 21 @ 8:31 PM ET
“Provy did nothing wrong,” Tortorella said Thursday. “Just because you don’t agree with his decision doesn’t mean he did anything wrong.”
Paul Stewart
Joined: 10.14.2013

Jan 21 @ 10:39 PM ET
What about the people who dont support pride night? Is there room for those people with your bullpoop logic?
- Sir_Robot_Farts


What part of "Philadelphia, like all teams, has some other players who don't necessarily support Pride Night. have religious and/or political views that aren't all that different than Provorov's and yet all but one checked it at the door and chose put team unity above themselves" was unclear?
Paul Stewart
Joined: 10.14.2013

Jan 21 @ 10:42 PM ET
“Provy did nothing wrong,” Tortorella said Thursday. “Just because you don’t agree with his decision doesn’t mean he did anything wrong.”
- Sir_Robot_Farts


They'll keep it in the room for the same reasons I laid out above as to why everyone else participated in Pride Night. It does no one on the team any good to make an internal matter public.

Paul Stewart
Joined: 10.14.2013

Jan 21 @ 10:50 PM ET
I'm shocked that you see things this way.

Just kidding, totally predictable. Good thing there arent any Muslims in the NHL, cant imagine how you would treat them over this.

- Sir_Robot_Farts


Um, there are Muslims in the NHL. Nazem Kadri for one.

That's a good thing... diversity is a good thing. That's what Hockey is for EVERYONE means. I don't believe it in selectively, as some here clearly do.

Ethnicity, religion, politics, etc. should not a barrier to someone playing. On the flip side, the same standard of being a teammate applies to everyone. Provorov is entitled to his views and it shouldn't preclude him from being on his team. But when you choose to remove yourself from your team in a warmup and you aren't injured or ill, you don't deserve to play THAT night.

Not complicated.
Htppr
Chicago Blackhawks
Location: IL
Joined: 02.22.2012

Jan 22 @ 9:45 AM ET
Um, there are Muslims in the NHL. Nazem Kadri for one.

That's a good thing... diversity is a good thing. That's what Hockey is for EVERYONE means. I don't believe it in selectively, as some here clearly do.

Ethnicity, religion, politics, etc. should not a barrier to someone playing. On the flip side, the same standard of being a teammate applies to everyone. Provorov is entitled to his views and it shouldn't preclude him from being on his team. But when you choose to remove yourself from your team in a warmup and you aren't injured or ill, you don't deserve to play THAT night.

Not complicated.

- Paul Stewart



At what point did he disparage the alphabet people? Or say hockey isn’t for everyone?
Paul Stewart
Joined: 10.14.2013

Jan 22 @ 4:11 PM ET
At what point did he disparage the alphabet people? Or say hockey isn’t for everyone?
- Htppr


His actions spoke for him. But, again, what we are discussing here is the dynamics of hockey team. If you can't bother to take warmups with your teammates, you can't bother to play that night. I'd respect Provorov more if he sat out the game and didn't cause a distraction. He got to have his cake and eat it, too.

I've said all I have to say about the situation. A new blog is coming tomorrow or Tuesday.

Nasty_Duck
Boston Bruins
Location: ON
Joined: 06.20.2012

Jan 22 @ 6:48 PM ET
His actions spoke for him. But, again, what we are discussing here is the dynamics of hockey team. If you can't bother to take warmups with your teammates, you can't bother to play that night. I'd respect Provorov more if he sat out the game and didn't cause a distraction. He got to have his cake and eat it, too.

I've said all I have to say about the situation. A new blog is coming tomorrow or Tuesday.

- Paul Stewart


Agreed - if he wasn't willing to participate in the days events - he should have sat out the entire day - including the game.
Big Brother 911
Montreal Canadiens
Location: Toronto, ON
Joined: 10.18.2020

Jan 24 @ 6:16 AM ET
As usual, I disagree with Paul Stewart's tone deaf commentary.

Provarov's coach, John Tortorella had no problem with his player being true to himself. Why then, should anyone else? Why should someone be forced to do something that goes against his/her religious beliefs?

All Provarov did was miss a warmup - he didn't refuse to play the game.
Paul Stewart
Joined: 10.14.2013

Jan 24 @ 2:43 PM ET
As usual, I disagree with Paul Stewart's tone deaf commentary.

Provarov's coach, John Tortorella had no problem with his player being true to himself. Why then, should anyone else? Why should someone be forced to do something that goes against his/her religious beliefs?

All Provarov did was miss a warmup - he didn't refuse to play the game.

- Big Brother 911


1) There are other religious players and political conservatives on his -- and every -- team. Only one player decided to make himself a distraction. If Philly is like most teams, there are likely a few fundamentalist/evangelical players and certainly quite a few conservatives, including at least one player who was/is very vocally a MAGA supporter. They all wore the warmup jersey. Why? Because they are part of a team. That's how it works in the "room". You are expected to check all the other stuff at the door. Once inside, it's all about the team and not the individual.

2) You misspelled Provorov.... twice. Kind of hurts the authoritativeness. (Just saying).

3) A player does not have the freedom to selectively decide to skip a warmup when he isn't injured or ill. If you remove yourself from your TEAM in warmups, sit the game out. If Provorov had done that, I'd be defending him.

4) Just because Torts claims he had no problem with it, doesn't mean that team leaders felt the same way. The most respected guy in their room -- Scott Laughton -- said there'd be other discussions moving forward. They just won't play out in public, as they shouldn't.

5) Religious beliefs are a personal matter. If he felt strongly enough to bail on his teammates because the numbering and lettering colors on the warmups were just so unbearably offensive, then he felt strongly enough to miss the game, too. He wanted to have his cake and eat it, too.

Apparently, this person is also very selective about which tenants of Orthodox beliefs he does and doesn't choose to follow. And that's fine, too. His business. But when it comes to TEAM business, you either are or aren't a teammate. He showed himself to be a poor teammate.
powerenforcer
Chicago Blackhawks
Location: Wheeling, IL
Joined: 09.24.2009

Wednesday @ 8:04 AM ET
Paul, it's people like you who are throwing gas on the fire. Just leave it alone.

And just to be fair, when is the NHL going to have an NRA night? Because, we all know that the entire "Pride" thing is just a club, so the NHL should be inclusive to "ALL". Isn't that correct?
TheGame316
Joined: 11.18.2008

Thursday @ 4:30 AM ET
1) There are other religious players and political conservatives on his -- and every -- team. Only one player decided to make himself a distraction. If Philly is like most teams, there are likely a few fundamentalist/evangelical players and certainly quite a few conservatives, including at least one player who was/is very vocally a MAGA supporter. They all wore the warmup jersey. Why? Because they are part of a team. That's how it works in the "room". You are expected to check all the other stuff at the door. Once inside, it's all about the team and not the individual.

2) You misspelled Provorov.... twice. Kind of hurts the authoritativeness. (Just saying).

3) A player does not have the freedom to selectively decide to skip a warmup when he isn't injured or ill. If you remove yourself from your TEAM in warmups, sit the game out. If Provorov had done that, I'd be defending him.

4) Just because Torts claims he had no problem with it, doesn't mean that team leaders felt the same way. The most respected guy in their room -- Scott Laughton -- said there'd be other discussions moving forward. They just won't play out in public, as they shouldn't.

5) Religious beliefs are a personal matter. If he felt strongly enough to bail on his teammates because the numbering and lettering colors on the warmups were just so unbearably offensive, then he felt strongly enough to miss the game, too. He wanted to have his cake and eat it, too.

Apparently, this person is also very selective about which tenants of Orthodox beliefs he does and doesn't choose to follow. And that's fine, too. His business. But when it comes to TEAM business, you either are or aren't a teammate. He showed himself to be a poor teammate.

- Paul Stewart


Provorov has the courage of his convictions

You apparently, do not.. By your own admission you'd have cucked along against your personal beliefs so you could "fit in"

Kinda pathetic, actually
Harold Washington
Chicago Blackhawks
Joined: 10.28.2021

Thursday @ 12:02 PM ET
Either Stewart is trolling or he is incapable at understanding someone else's viewpoint. I doubt that he would support any of the following events:

Swingers Night
Prostitute Night
Meth Head Night
Compulsive Masturbation Night
Polygamy Night
Incest is Okay Night
Cheating Spouse Night
Atheist Night

Maybe nobody else on the team sat out warmups is because they were afraid that the Woke Nazis would threaten their job.

Provorov showed tolerance. The NHL, Flyers, and Stewart showed cowardice and/or intolerance.


PghPens668771
Pittsburgh Penguins
Joined: 11.26.2013

Thursday @ 8:30 PM ET
I guess by Paul's standards, Sandy Koufax, who refused to play (as the starting pitcher) in a World Series game in 1965 because he is Jewish and the game fell on Yom Kippur (the holiest day of the Jewish year) was being selfish and should have been "talked to" by the team for putting his personal religious convictions ahead of the team. The Dodgers certainly needed him in that game but to him his personal religious devotion took precedence over the team. Although I am not Jewish I personally have tremendous respect for him, as do many others including the very liberal former President Obama, who acknowledged him for doing this in a statement back in 2010.

In my case I am a devout traditionalist Catholic who takes vacation from work all of Holy Week (the week before Easter) and Easter Monday every year. I don't care what is going on at work - I take this time off no matter what and leave my cell phone shut off for most of it. In 2013 I came close to getting in a lot of trouble over it but I fortunately got the the work done before taking the time off. However, I would have taken the time off anyway, even if it meant being fired. I go to mass every day this week, and by "mass" I mean the traditional Latin mass. There are five solemn high masses this week, four of which are at least three hours long.

And I find it horrible that in a nation that is (or at least used to be) predominantly Christian that the NHL regularly has games on Good Friday and Easter Sunday. Even the stock market shuts down on Good Friday. If I was an NHL player I would have it in my contract that I do not have to play on these days, even if they are playoff games.
Quetzalcoatl
Location: Free Agent
Joined: 12.02.2009

Thursday @ 8:47 PM ET
https://www.psychologytod...nd-strong-in-your-beliefs
Nasty_Duck
Boston Bruins
Location: ON
Joined: 06.20.2012

Friday @ 5:30 PM ET
Either Stewart is trolling or he is incapable at understanding someone else's viewpoint. I doubt that he would support any of the following events:

Swingers Night
Prostitute Night
Meth Head Night
Compulsive Masturbation Night
Polygamy Night
Incest is Okay Night
Cheating Spouse Night
Atheist Night

Maybe nobody else on the team sat out warmups is because they were afraid that the Woke Nazis would threaten their job.

Provorov showed tolerance. The NHL, Flyers, and Stewart showed cowardice and/or intolerance.

- Harold Washington




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