Retired Canadian hockey star Theo Fleury slammed the National Hockey League (NHL) Wednesday on “Tucker Carlson Tonight” for politicizing the sport.
The Calgary Flames player reacted to NHL commissioner Gary Bettman and Vice President Kim Davis calling for more diversity and people of color in the game and a tweet from the league’s official Twitter account saying “Trans women are women. Trans men are men. Nonbinary identity is real.”
“Were race politics a big part of hockey when you were playing?” host Tucker Carlson asked.
“No. God no,” Fleury responded. “You know, I think the reason why we all gravitated toward hockey was first and foremost it was fun. Then secondly, you know, there was no politics involved. You know, we played this sport because we absolutely loved it.”
Theo Fleury played for Canadian ice hockey team the Calgary Flames.
“For me personally, it was an escape from what was going on in my home life at that time. You know, I fell head over heels in love with the sport. You know, I was really good at it obviously and pursued a career in this amazing game that we play,” he added.
Host Tucker Carlson questioned why only a handful of athletes speak out about the politicization of sports.
“I think [it’s] really because we’re so divided, Tucker. Deep down hockey players are, you know, guys who are compassionate and empathetic; it’s just something we don’t want to get involved in. It’s an argument that we can’t win, you know,” Fleury explained.
A general view of the NHL logo on the back of the goal on April 24, 2022 at the Prudential Center in Newark, New Jersey.
(Rich Graessle/Getty Images)
The 1989 Stanley Cup winner said it doesn’t matter who plays the sport as long as players love the game.
“It doesn’t matter to us who plays the sport, whether you’re transgender, gay or whatever. The reason why we play the game, and the reason why the game is so amazing and so great, is it’s for everybody. Right? And the reason why we play the game is it’s an escape from what’s going on in our lives,” he said.
“Unfortunately politics has no place in any sport, whether that’s football, basketball, hockey, [or] baseball. Politics should never be a part of any kind of sport whatsoever.”