Eric Staal Called Out For Denying Reality With Hypocritical Pride Night Protest

Florida Panthers center Eric Staal

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In 2017, the NHL introduced the “Hockey is for Everyone” initiative designed to grow the game with the help of events focused on calling attention to communities that have been historically underrepresented in the world of hockey.

Since then, teams across the league have held “Pride Night” in honor of the LGBTQ+ community, but that particular tribute has been the source of a notable amount of controversy over the course of the current season.

In January, Flyers defenseman Ivan Provorov cited his Russian Orthodox beliefs after declining to suit up in the custom Pride Night jersey the rest of his teammates donned during the warmup he sat out. 

That sparked a bit of a domino effect, as the Rangers found themselves dealing with a PR headache after quietly shelving the rainbow-themed gear they’d promoted ahead of their Pride Night festivities later that month.

That issue was shoved back into the forefront this month when Sharks goaltender James Reimer became the latest player to use his religious beliefs to justify his decision to not wear a Pride Night jersey (although some fans pointed out the evangelical Mennonite had no issue wearing a military-themed jersey despite the religion’s anti-war stance).

On Thursday night, Marc and Eric Staal neglected to join the Panthers on the ice for the pregame warmup after issuing a statement where they stated “We carry no judgement on how people choose to live their lives” but “we feel that by us wearing a pride jersey it goes against our Christian beliefs.”

At the end of the day, there’s no real use in forcing anyone to participate in Pride Night.

However, Eric Staal dug himself into a bit of a hole after the game when he implied he was sticking to principles he’d never abandoned with his boycott before simply denying an indisputable reality thanks to video evidence proving he had, in fact, worn a Pride Night jersey while playing for the Canadiens in 2021.

I’ve certainly seen better looks in my day.
Connor O'Toole avatar
Connor Toole is the Deputy Editor at BroBible. He is a New England native who went to Boston College and currently resides in Brooklyn, NY. Frequently described as "freakishly tall," he once used his 6'10" frame to sneak in the NBA Draft and convince people he was a member of the Utah Jazz.