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Eric & Marc Staal Do Not Participate in Florida Panthers Pride Night



Panthers pride staal
A Pride flag flies outside FLA Live Arena in Sunrise prior to Thursday night’s game with the Toronto Maple Leafs. // Photo courtesy @FlaPanthers

SUNRISE — Florida Panthers veterans Eric and Marc Staal did not come out for warmups with their team on Thursday night in protest of the team’s Pride Night.

The two brothers cited religious differences in making their decision.

Both were in the lineup Thursday, however, as the Panthers lost 6-2 to the Maple Leafs.

The Panthers said any player who did not choose to wear the jersey had that right but would not warmup before the game.

Every other member of the team, including starting goalie Sergei Bobrovsky, took part.

The brothers put out a statement before the game with Eric Staal addressing the media — but not saying much.

“I respectfully would just like to stick with the statement that we made and released,’’ Eric Staal said. “That’s how we felt in this situation and that is the decision that we made. I would like to leave it at that. I want to try my best to move forward.”

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Last week, former Florida goalie James Reimer declined to wear the San Jose Pride jersey saying it went against his religious beliefs.

“As an organization, we have decided — and rightfully so — to move forward with it and support it and celebrate it,” Florida coach Paul Maurice said of wearing special warmup jerseys for Pride Night.

“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. But I’ve seen the sweaters. They’re great looking, and it should be a great night tonight.”

The Panthers are auctioning off the warmup jerseys — autographed by the player who wore them — with moneys raised benefitting You Can Play.

Neither Eric nor Marc Staal have a jersey up on the auction site.

Florida Panthers Wearing Special Warmup Jerseys for Pride Night

In a joint statement, the Staal brothers said they “carry no judgement” on “how people live their lives.”

From the statement: “After many thoughts, prayers and discussions we have chosen not to wear a pride jersey tonight.

“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.

“We hope you can respect this statement, we will not be speaking any further on this matter and would like to continue to focus on the game and helping the Florida Panthers win the Stanley Cup.

  • Eric and Marc Staal



  • When: Thursday, 7 p.m.
  • Where: FLA Live Arena, Sunrise
  • TV/Streaming: Bally Sports Florida; ESPN+
  • Radio: WPOW 96.5-FM2; WBZT 1230-AM (Palm Beach); WCTH 100.3-FM (Florida Keys); SiriusXM
  • Panthers Radio Streaming: SiriusXM 932
  • Season Series (Toronto leads 1-0): Maple Leafs 5, Panthers 4 OT (Jan. 17)
  • Last season: Florida won 2-1
  • All-time regular season series: Toronto leads 46-35-7, 7 ties
  • Up Next for the Panthers: New York Rangers at Florida, Saturday, 5 p.m.

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Donny R

Is opting out the same as protesting?

Donny R

OK. But they went on to detail in their response that they don’t harbor any ill will or hatred toward anyone for acting against their own beliefs or lifestyle decisions. How is that protesting anything? Simply took themselves out of the discussion (short of media attention). You didn’t necessarily frame it as a negative action but I disagree with the use of the word “protest”. Had it been, they would have appeared in the pre-game skate wearing regular unis while everyone else donned the rainbow gear (which is admittedly pretty awesome). This “controversy” is getting rather old; certainly didn’t begin… Read more »


Right, because you have to believe and act the same as everyone else!!! People are “inclusive” until you have an opinion different from theirs, then all of a sudden you are “cancelled”. It is quite the hypocritical stance to take, but no one is asking me for my opinion. I do not walk around broadcasting that I am a heterosexual.. Nor do I wear attire that celebrates my Italian heritage… becuase who cares, right?!?!? I do not see why this even needs to be an issue. It is MEDIA GENERATED. The media is contributing to the division that is going… Read more »


Ever been beat up for being a heterosexual? Ever been dragged down the street by a crowd of people for being a heterosexual? Cuz guess what Chief that’s happened to many gay people that’s the difference boss.


I have seen Eric wear Pride jerseys in the past. So why now and in Florida- if you don’t warm up- don’t play.


Who cares? You want so badly for stranger to celebrate one’s choice in who they sleep with. You people are genuinely garbage


What an absolute tool you are. No one has to celebrate what you choose to sleep with.


Couldn’t agree more you shouldn’t be celebrated for who you choose to sleep with but you shouldn’t be persecuted for it either it’s got to swing both ways that’s the whole point you’re missing

Last edited 8 months ago by surveyjay

I’m getting tired of these a holes using
“religion” as an excuse for their ignorance.


A.d some people are tired of constantly being told what they have to accept amd welcome. You ask for what you beleive and the lifestyle that you choose to be accepted, yet you refuse to give the same respect in return. P


So many people push and push for everyone to accept their corrupt lifestyles but as soon as anything contrary to what they made up comes around then all of a sudden it’s a hate crime or bullying. If everyone accepted what the Bible teaches and that a man and women are the relationship that God intended for marriage then this discussion would have never happened. Stop getting mad at men who just want to play hockey but are being forced by a community to show support for something they know is wrong.


Wrong,?? That seems fairly bigoted to me


The only one harboring ignorance is you. Why should anyone be forced to celebrate whom these people what to sleep with? Totalitarian a-holes, you are.

Last edited 8 months ago by CommonSense

Why should they go along with it if they don’t want to?


So I am ignorant if I do not act like you or believe what you believe in? Everyone is so “inclusive” until you have an opinion different from theirs, then all of a sudden you should be burned alive at the stake. What happened to “my body, my choice” or freedom to do and say as I please, as long as I am not physically harming someone or their property? That has gone by the wayside. This world has become “do and say as I do OR ELSE.”


What you choose to sleep with has no business on the ice. These clowns are demanding a bending of the knee and if not what to call you intolerant or homophobic, which they clearly don’t know what means.

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