NHL headlines have been dominated this season Players refuse to wear Pride jersey and the debate over LGBTQ+ inclusion in sport. Although Pride is the forerunner, the toxic culture of hockey sits at the center as the game addresses not only homophobia and transphobia, but issues of ableism and misogyny, and prominently, racism. While pundits debate pride, experts are urging a more interspecies approach, hoping to promote diversity, equity, inclusion and justice in sport.
Conflicting issues in sport were brought to the fore this week following PK Subban’s comments about Pride celebrations. A supporter of disadvantaged youth and a vocal advocate combating anti-black racism in hockey, Subban faced backlash after speaking out against an initiative supported by another equity-seeking group, Pride.
Subban’s comments focused on what he called a “push” for athletes to become “activists” by wearing pregame Pride jerseys, despite Subban himself pledging to wear one for the New Jersey Devils in 2022 during Black History Month. Jersey designed.
“We cannot force everyone to be an activist, we need to be very careful,” Subban told Reuters, “I think people pick and choose what they want to talk about and I don’t like it when we accuse athletes of being pro-active.”
“You Can Support the LGBTQ Community Without Wearing a Hat, Tee”Shirt or jersey.
As Reuters noted, “Subban rejected any suggestion that minority and marginalized children may feel unwanted in these buildings after choosing not to support their favorite NHL team or player on certain Pride Night initiatives.” Can.”
Subban, who played 834 NHL games and won the Norris Trophy in 2013 as the league’s top defender, then criticized the media, who he said needed to be “held accountable” for pushing certain narratives and focus more on the positive. The focus should be on the work that is being done.
“There are a number of players in the league who have started programs – Why is the media not talking about it?” Subban enquired.
According to Ornella Njindukiyimana, an associate professor at St. Francis Xavier University whose research focuses on the sporting history of Black Canadians, wearing a Pride jersey does not constitute activism, calling Subban’s suggestion on the matter “very disingenuous”.
Nzindukyimana also believes that Subban’s comments dismiss interdisciplinary issues of oppression, and that if the work being done through other initiatives was sufficient, Pride and Black History events in hockey would not be necessary.
“If the work that was being done behind the scenes was so wonderful and substantial as Subban suggests, there would be no need for initiatives like Pride or Black History Month,” Njindukiyimana said.
“The existence of these awareness campaigns is an annual reminder that there is much work to be done, both symbolic and practical,” she continued. “The league’s public-facing actions matter just as much as what is being done to educate the athletes, and it’s not an either/or thing. We’re talking about deeper running issues that need to be addressed in an act.” or cannot be resolved by one speech. All these issues stem from the same place, and cannot be addressed separately.
Subban’s comments were not well received by members of the LGBTQ+ community nor by those working to change hockey’s toxic culture. Issues of sexism, homophobia, transphobia and racism are intertwined in the game, a theme author Jashvina Shah, who co-wrote Sports misconduct: Hockey’s toxic culture and how to fix it Knows well, with Evan Moore.
“Nothing in life is isolated and unless we are supporting all causes and uplifting all downtrodden, we are uplifting none,” Shah said.
“There are marginalized people who belong to more than one community and by excluding people from certain communities, we are excluding people who are present in our own communities as well. It’s also the right thing to do to support marginalized people from all backgrounds.”
Many supported Shah’s sentiments, including Lexie Brown. Brown, who holds a PhD in philosophy in education and is married to JT Brown, a former black NHL player, Responded to Subban’s comments on social media,
“Wearing a jersey is the bare minimum to promote an inclusive environment,” she wrote. “These white millionaires don’t need you to protect them, trans kids in Iowa, queer kids in Florida, and all BIPOC LGBTQ+ kids are what we need to show up for them right now… I hope these quotes are taken were taken out of context because how can you even try to speak for the LGBTQ+ community like this.”
Subban, who does not publicly identify as a member of the LGBTQ+ community, has been a positive outspoken advocate for anti-racism. His 2022 jersey, which featured the slogan “A Movement, Not a Moment”, was a response to anti-black racism in hockey, including an incident in January 2022 involving his brother Jordan. As it relates to racism, Subban himself said that other people outside the black community Will not understand what black athletes are dealing with.
“If you’re not black, you’re not going to understand… For us, this is life. This is life for us. And that’s what’s sad. This is life for people who look like me who come out of the game of hockey.” Gone. And that’s part of history, whether we like it or not, and we’re trying to change that. I’m an advocate for changing that.
Limiting your support for equity to a single group, whether as an activist or an ally, however, risks excluding others. As Njindukiyimana said, arguing against wearing Pride jerseys, especially by current NHL players for the reasons listed, is not only harmful, it’s ignorant.
“If they are not part of the solution, then we can only assume they are part of the problem because the arguments they present are reckless and ignorantly out of the playbook,” Njindukiyimana said. “Wearing the jersey doesn’t make one non-homophobic … but it sure doesn’t make you anti-homophobic, especially not with those arguments.”
Evan Moore, co-author of Sports misconduct: Hockey’s toxic culture and how to fix it states that many affinity groups serve a common interest or common goal, and that the individuals who form those groups can often ignore the oppression experienced by others.
“Blindspots about interraciality is something that all affinity groups have,” Moore said, pointing to organizations like the Black Girl Hockey Club and the Hockey Diversity Alliance.
When examples of allies failing are brought to light, as is happening with PK Subban, Moore says allies should listen to other equity-seeking groups.
“Marginalized groups pushing themselves over each other while ignoring the hold of others is a terrible idea,” Moore said. “When someone pulls us aside to point [blindspots] Outside, we need to listen.
Hockey continues to deal with issues of racism. Simultaneously, hockey continues to deal with issues of homophobia and transphobia. There needs to be seats at the table for all groups seeking equity, and while solutions exist, the hockey world speaks of diversity, equity and inclusion without listening.