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Florida Panthers duo become the latest NHL players to reject the LGBT brand: 'Goes against our Christian beliefs'

Photo by Eliot J. Schechter/NHLI via Getty Images

Brothers Marc and Eric Staal are the latest NHL stars to take a stand and reject the LGBT brand. The Florida panthers hockey players elected not to wear "Pride Night" jerseys ahead of their Thursday night game against the Toronto Maple Leafs.

For the annual "Pride Night," Panthers players had to wear LGBT activist jerseys, designed this time around by the pronoun-providing artist who calls herself Teepop.

According to NHL.com, the activist jerseys are later put up for auction, with proceeds going to LGBT activist groups in South Florida as well as to the You Can Play Project, which purportedly seeks to counter "judgement and discrimination based on sexual orientation, gender identity and/or gender expression" in sports.

While players were expected to wear the activist brand on the ice, "Pride" scarves, wristbands, and other merchandise were distributed throughout the stadium, so that fans could similarly endorse the LGBT agenda.

The Staal brothers respectfully declined to be used once again as props in the LGBT propaganda.

The hockey stars noted in a statement that they "carry no judgement on how people choose to live their lives, and believe that all people should be welcome in all aspects of the game of hockey."

While indicating that they are welcoming to others, the Staal brothers expect the same tolerance in return.

"We feel that by us wearing a pride jersey it goes against our Christian beliefs," they wrote.

"We hope you can respect this statement," they added. "We will not be speaking any further on this matter and would like to continue to focus on the game and helping the Florida Panthers win the Stanley Cup."

Florida coach Paul Maurice suggested Thursday morning that while the Florida Panthers were wholeheartedly embracing the LGBT symbolism as a team, individual players and teams around the league had a right to decline, reported Florida Hockey Now.

"As an organization, we have decided — and rightfully so — to move forward with it and support it and celebrate it," said Maurice. "Teams around the league and players around the league, they’ve got the right to their opinion, and we’ve got the right to ours. But I’ve seen the sweaters. They’re great looking, and it should be a great night tonight."

TheBlaze previously reported that the Chicago Blackhawks, New York Rangers, New York Islanders, and the Minnesota Wild have declined to wear such jerseys.

The Blackhawks said in a statement, "While we know gameday celebrations like these are an important way we can use our platform to bring visibility, it is the work we do together 365 days a year that can create true impact in ensuring all of our colleagues, fans and communities feel welcomed and safe within our sport."

San Jose Sharks goaltender James Reimer and Philadelphia Flyer Ivan Provorov, like the Staal brothers, recently stuck their necks out for their Christian beliefs, both declining to wear "Pride"-themed warm-up jerseys.

Reimer said, "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," added the seasoned goaltender. "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."

Provorov told reporters he intended to "stay true to myself and my religion."

Senior NHL writer at ESPN Greg Wyshynski blasted Provorov, suggesting that if the player would not take part in LGBT activism symbolically, he should do so monetarily, claiming he "owes them a donation."

TheBlaze reported that Wyshynski was joined in denouncing Provorov by other hockey-adjacent media personalities who suggested the player's nonconformity should land him out of a place on the team.

Reimer was also denounced and smeared as a bigot.

Pronoun-providing sports writer Kelsey Trainor said that Reimer was "hiding behind the Bible to refuse to endorse gay people having rights and existing," calling him "gross."

The Staal brothers were met with similar denunciations, largely from the media class.

Eric Macramalla, a TSN sports legal analyst, tweeted, "So let me get this straight: in refusing to wear the Pride jersey, the Staal brothers have said they 'carry no judgment on how people choose to live their lives' but then say wearing a Pride jersey 'goes against our Christian beliefs'. Sounds pretty judgy."

Alyssa Mercante, senior editor at Kotaku, wrote, "Join me tomorrow as I burn my Marc Staal jersey!"

Outsports, an LGBT activist publication that reports on sports, claimed, "Their rejection of this simple act of inclusion tells LGBT people very clearly, 'We don’t want you here.'"

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