According to reports, the Chicago NHL team has decided not to wear Pride-themed warmup jerseys during a game due to concerns for the safety of their Russian players.
The decision was made to avoid potential repercussions under an anti-gay law in Russia that could endanger athletes when they return home.
The law, signed by Russian President Vladimir Putin in December, further restricts support for LGBTQ rights, and the team reportedly did not want to put their players at risk.
While it is not clear which players specifically were the cause of the concern, it is known that Chicago has at least two players with connections to Russia.
The jerseys were intended to commemorate Pride night, but the team ultimately decided against wearing them to avoid any negative consequences for their players.
It is not the first time that concerns for the safety of Russian athletes have been raised in relation to the country’s anti-gay laws.
This decision highlights the ongoing debate over how best to balance advocacy for LGBTQ rights with concerns for the safety of individuals, particularly those living in countries where such advocacy is met with hostility or even violence.
It also underscores the complex and often fraught nature of international sports, where political tensions and cultural differences can have significant impacts on athletes and their teams.