Should NHL teams scratch players refusing Pride Night jerseys?

During recent Pride Nights hosted by NHL teams, much of the focus has been on statements made by players who decided not to wear special edition warm jerseys, which are part of initiatives to make hockey more welcoming to fans. On this week's edition of Zone Time, Julian and Sam wonder if it's time for team's to scratch players to keep a positive focus on why Pride Nights exist to begin with.

Video Transcript

JULIAN MCKENZIE: It's good on teams for them to say, you know what, James Reimer, you don't want to wear the jersey? You got to let everyone know why. Maybe this is the cynical part of me. But I'm surprised that more teams have not scratched players just because they don't want whatever blowback from having a Pride Night and having a player say like, hey, I don't want to wear the Jersey because XYZ.

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OMAR: It's just weird.

JULIAN MCKENZIE: I'm genuinely surprised.

OMAR: It's just weird because players get scratched for being five minutes late for practice.


SAM CHANG: I'm kind of like of two minds about that. I know I said with Reimer, I'm glad they gave him the rope to hang himself with the answers to the questions. But at the same time, on nights that are supposed to be celebrating pride, it's pretty awful and sad to see that what the main topic of discussion is-- and obviously, I've participated in that-- is focusing on really homophobic antiqueer statements.

And having queer fans have to see these statements and listen to that I think is pretty awful. So I don't know what the balance is between that. I actually do think they should be healthy scratched. I don't think you should be allowed to--

JULIAN MCKENZIE: That's a very good point.

SAM CHANG: --not participate in a team initiative. I'm like, for all the people who are like you can't do that, sorry. People get scratched for missing team breakfast. People get scratched for missing all kinds of things. So I don't see why this is different.

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