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Out player Luke Prokop says NHL athletes who won’t wear Pride jerseys are missing the larger point

Prokop said that Reimer’s refusal was a “disappointment” that “feels like a step back for inclusion in the NHL.”“Everyone is entitled to their own set of beliefs.” But, he added, “I think it’s important to recognize the difference between endorsing a community and respecting individuals within it.”Prokop said that Pride Nights and Pride jerseys play an important part in “promoting and respecting inclusion for the LGBTQIA+ community” and in “fostering greater acceptance and understanding” of queer people in his sport. However, he worries this message is getting lost.“It’s disheartening to see some teams no longer wearing [Pride jerseys] or embracing their significance, while the focus of others has become about the players who aren’t participating rather than the meaning of the night itself,” Prokop, who currently plays as a defenseman for the Seattle Thunderbirds of the Western Hockey League, added, “As someone who aspires to play on an NHL team one day, I would want to enter the locker room knowing I can share all parts of my identity with my teammates.”While the NHL launched its “Hockey is for Everyone” diversity campaign in 1998, the league has struggled in recent years to get all of its players to wear Pride jerseys.

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