You may not believe this, given how often it is I have to do it, but I hate repeating myself. This post is essentially identical to this one, from January: same issue, same pandering, power-abusing sports league (the NHL), same awards (Ethics Hero and A “Bite Me!”), same despicable news media coverage; different team (the Sharks in place of the Flyers) and different player (Sharks goalie James Reimer replacing the Philadelphia Flyers’ Ivan Provorov…during the game against the Islanders,).
As in the case of the Flyers two months ago, the Sharks hosted a Pride Night (what someone’s sexual activities have to do with hockey and why they are something to be proud of remains a mystery to me), and announced that, in addition to offering silly LGTBQ+ themed, “Great Stupid”classic items like these…
…during the game against the Islanders,and promoting it with pandering blather like this…
…the team also committed its players to wearing special pride-themed jerseys during pre-game warm-ups. Well, you can’t do that, not ethically. It’s compelled speech by an employer with a threat of negative consequences for any employee who doesn’t comply. I would (and have) refused to go along with such edicts as an employee in the past even when I happened to agree with the sentiments I was ordered to endorse.
Like Provorov, the Sharks goalie declined to be pushed into endorsing something he chose not to, stating,
“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,”
He should not have been placed in a position where he had to make such a statement. (I would have preferred to see a shorts statement about compelled speech and political endorsements in general, but that’s just me.)
Predictably, and just as in the case of Reimer, the Woke Borg, Mainstream Media Division, attacked. One hockey writer described Reimer as “absolutely a homophobe” and beclowned himself by writing, “Here’s also what I believe, Jesus would unequivocally love and celebrate the LGBTQ+ community. He’d be the first to wear a rainbow.” Another sports writer wrote that Reimer is “hiding behind the Bible to refuse to endorse gay people having rights and existing.” A bit less mainstream, a newsletter about sexism in sports spat out, “Under the umbrella of disingenuous bullshit, you can fuck right off with this statement. If you truly believed the queer community is welcome in hockey, you’d wear the shirt. You do not get to have it both ways. Jesus is not impressed.” More assumptions about that well-known hockey fan, Jesus of Nazareth!
The NHL and the Sharks are the ethics villains here for putting their players in this position.
The NHL and the Sharks are the ethics villains here for putting their players in this position. The Sharks tried to both double down and weasel out, issuing this:
Sports leagues and teams that choose to suck up to certain segments of their community with stunts like this—and let’s not kid ourselves: they are seldom motivated by genuine and sincere belief, but rather public relations and marketing considerations,—are crossing thick lines and abusing their fan base and employees while endangering trust and good will. I, for example, will never forget or forgive the Boston Red Sox ownership for its Black Lives Matter promotion, or for defaming Tom Yawkee, the owner responsible for the team’s success in Boston, by removing all references to him around Fenway Park on the grounds that he was a racist, like virtually every other white American born in 1903.
But at least the team didn’t force its players to wear BLM armbands during batting practice.
Notice of Correction: For some reason, I moved the Sharks to San Diego in the original headline
12 thoughts on “Ethics Hero And “Bite Me!” Déjà Vu: San Jose Sharks Goalie James Reimer [Corrected]”
They thought offering gay colored pieces of raw fish flesh … to eat … was … enlightened?
Provorov and the other Russian citizens playing ice hockey in the US and Canada may have an additional reason — self-preservation.
There are 57 Russians on NHL rosters, 5.4% of the league. They are very public figures in that country, where hockey is nearly as big a sport as in Canada. According to the sports website “The Athletic”, those players were quietly and semi-officially advised by the Russian government that participation in Pride activities could result in prosecution under Russia’s law banning ‘gay propaganda’ and in prison terms when they return home.
If they are imprisoned, maybe we could trade Brittny Greiner for them?
Very helpful info, Greg. Imagine if the NHL required a pro-Ukraine jersey!
I’m surprised they haven’t done something like that.
Speaking as an atheist and a supporter of gay rights and cultural acceptance, I am of the opinion that these gimmicky antics by corporations are toxic and counterproductive. They are going to result in both supporters and opponents of gay rights seeing gender/sexual/romantic nonconforming people as sacred cows, rather than as people. Coercing signaling will move the issue backwards rather than forwards. Is it really that difficult to treat people like people? Or is it that humanity as a whole never really learned how, and many of them just pretend to do it?
This is the compelled speech aspect of Social Justice Fundamentalism that Tim Urban talks about in What’s Our Problem?. It’s the step before “much worse things”.
The introductory course for Visionary Vocabularies will offer a better path forward, by helping people see what they themselves and others want, which is often very different from what they ask for.
“They are going to result in both supporters and opponents of gay rights seeing gender/sexual/romantic nonconforming people as sacred cows, rather than as people.” Future tense? Surely you jest, EC. Gays and lesbians are icons and have been for well over twenty or so years. “Live and let live” hasn’t been acceptable for years now. Only unbridled enthusiasm is acceptable.
Speaking as a Catholic who reverse Scripture as the Word of God, I am appalled that so many people are unable to articulate opposition to same-sex behavior with anything other than “I’m Christian, and the Bible says so.” If people believe in a rational God who ordered the universe and particular way, one should be able to argue from nature and reason for any moral position.
As for what people want, I would offer that people want to be good, and when they find themselves in a situation where they either have to accept that they are not being good, or change the entire world to make their actions good, many (if not most of us) want to change the entire world.
A celebratory night based on outlying/atypical sexual preferences? But only gays get a night? Incredible. OK – If they can have “gay night” then I want “hetero ass-man night” or “foot fetish night”. C’mon! Are you all inclusive or not?
A bit of a quibble, and probably unrelated to the story in general, but it appears that the Sharks home ice is still in San Jose, CA. At least they are still selling tickets for the 2023 season for home games in SJ.
You just need to start the players younger so they accept being told how to think later. Here’s a youth football lower back protecter on Amazon:
Some of the ad text:
“STOP HATE” Football Back Plates – Veollo Sport has been committed to the development of innovative sports products for many years. Here at Veollo, we know the protection and performance well. Also, as part of the social justice initiative, we have designed this back plate ,which with message ” STOP HATE”. Join us, just like your favorite team, wear ‘Stop Hate’ custom messages on your football back plate.
They also do say “…this backplate supports redesign, you can DIY your own style according to your preference.”
How does Veollo feel about the hate fomented by progressives against those who do not march in lock step with their beliefs.