Staal brothers decline to wear ‘Pride Night’ jerseys

Eric, Marc Staal cite ‘Christian beliefs’ as reason
Published: Mar. 24, 2023 at 10:25 AM EDT
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Two brothers who play for the Florida Panthers did not participate in a pregame skate Thursday night because they declined to wear the team’s LGBTQ+ “Pride Night” warmup jerseys, citing their religious beliefs.

Eric and Marc Staal were in the lineup during the 6-2 loss to the Toronto Maple Leafs.

"After many thoughts, prayers and discussions, we have chosen not to wear a pride night jersey tonight," the brothers said in a statement released by the Panthers. "We 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. Having said that, we feel that, by us wearing a pride jersey, it goes against our Christian beliefs."

The Panthers showed off their LGBTQ+ pride-themed jerseys on social media Thursday.

"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," Panthers head coach Paul Maurice said.

In 2013, the Panthers became the first NHL team to host a "Pride Night," which has since become an annual tradition.

The Staal brothers refused to comment further on the matter and said they'd "like to continue to focus on the game and helping the Florida Panthers win the Stanley Cup."

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