The NHL has a new slogan: Gay is not Ok

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Another NHL season is upon us, and the NHL wasted no time in being the NHL:

Gary Bettman’s NHL knows no other way than to bury its head in the sand, unless it comes to wearing military jerseys. It has no interest in growing the sport. Of the the four major sports, it is clearly, and increasingly, the most terrified of the worst parts of its fanbase. Look at how the NFL quickly pivoted to focus on Taylor Swift. If Taylor started dating a hockey player you can bet the first thing we would hear is what a distraction she is.

What, pray tell, was the problem with players putting rainbow tape on their sticks? Who did it hurt if a select number of players chose to support the LGBTQ+ community, which the league is too stupid and too cowardly to do en masse? Who was asking for this? The answers are none, none, and none.

The NHL, after the controversy of Pride Nights last year when a handful of players opted to not wear Pride Night jerseys, opted as it always does to do everything to make whatever the “problem” was just go away instead of dealing with it like adults. Adults who want to grow the game to a larger audience. Adults who have actually calculated what might happen when its ignorant, bigoted quotient of fans dies off (won’t be long now).

What does any player who is part of the LGBTQ+ community think of this now? Kids? They’ve just been explicitly told the game isn’t for them, and not only are they not welcome in it as who they are, but anyone wanting to support their cause to play and be in hockey as who they are isn’t even allowed to side with them. What does the NHL want, really?

The NHL was more afraid of some cranky dickheads than protecting those who need it far more, and sidelining their players who are for this and wish to express themselves. The entire league’s policy is “Shut up and play hockey.” It’s the overriding ethos of the sport. Which is why barely anyone watches it in comparison to all the others. The league was more concerned with not singling out dimwits like the Staal brothers or a few Russian bigots using the shield of safety (which hasn’t been proven to be an actual thing) and making them answer more questions than sticking to their “Hockey is For Everyone” campaign, which now sounds like the dumbest thing in the world.

Bettman’s answer to any problem that doesn’t have to do with locking out the players is to put his fingers in his ears and shut his eyes and hope it goes away. He doesn’t seem to care that so will a section of his fans, or those thinking of getting into the sport. But hey, the owners are still rich.

Well, at least Bryce has great hair

The Phillies and Atlanta sure found an exciting way to end Game 2, and make for a more exciting series heading back to Philly:

Make no mistake, I love Bryce Harper. He’s the rare example of the biggest free agent who has been worth every penny he’s been paid. It should burn every Cubs fans’ ass that their weakling, sniveling owners were still having a moan about Jason Heyward’s contract to not bring Harper to town when he so desperately wanted to be play there. He plays hard and he comes up big in the biggest moment.

But it certainly feels like he kind of lives for those shots of him ripping around the bases, helmet off, perfect quaff in the breeze. He wants everyone to know how hard he plays sometimes. There was a lasting image in the wild-card round of Harper blowing through a stop sign, which worked out. It’s not on the performative level of Jimmy Butler or Carli Lloyd, nor anywhere near it.

But his determination to look like the world’s dirtiest dog got him in trouble here. Hang around second, and if Michael Harris misses that ball, the ricochet off the wall probably sees Harper score easily. It would also have allowed him to easily get back to first in case Harris caught it, which he did.

But Harper was in such a hurry to be that guy again that Harris’s throw could bound to the third guy in line to catch it and they could still get him. It’s a great image, Bryce, and maybe if I had your hair, I’d do just about everything I could to show it off at every chance. We don’t know what the Phillies might have done afterward. Two out with a runner on first is hardly automatic for a run. It probably fades into the background and Atlanta still likely wins.

There’ll be another one though, Bryce. Didn’t have to force it.

Follow Sam on Twitter @Felsgate and on Bluesky @felsgate.bsky.social

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