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Tuesday, 03 September 2013 14:28

Detroit Red Wings' Pavel Datsyuk in favor of Russia's Anti-Gay Laws?

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Editor's Note: Written by former CLNS Radio beat writer Mark Wallace Graham. Follow Mark on Twitter @MarkWGraham.



  The anti-gay laws in Russia have taken a lot of heat as of late, and deservedly so. Many have come out and protested the horrid law, including Henrik Zetterberg and Victor Hedman. Meanwhile, others in the sports world have come out and supported the government laws, like Olympic vaulter Yelena Isinbayeva.

  The Detroit Red Wings' Pavel Datsyuk, a Russian, was asked about the laws and Zetterberg's vocal opposition of it, Datsyuk said,

"That's his opinion. My position- I am Orthodox. That says it all."

  Datsyuk didn't exactly state his views on the law, but if it's anything like the Russian Orthodox Church's view, Datsyuk is most likely in favor of the new laws put in place by the Russian government. The head of the Russian Orthodox Church has said about same sex unions that they are "bringing us closer to apocalypse"

 Let's take a look at the new laws put in place by the Russian government:

  Russian president Vladimir Putin has said that the laws were put in place to protect the youths of Russia and that people engaging into homosexual 'propaganda' can be punished with a jail sentence.

  Russian Article 6.21 defines propaganda as, "(T)he act of distributing information among minors that 1) is aimed at the creating nontraditional sexual attitudes, 2) makes nontraditional sexual relations attractive, 3) equates the social value of traditional and nontraditional sexual relations, or 4) creates an interest in nontraditional sexual relations."

  So, basically if a gay person is caught holding their partner's hand or giving them a kiss, that is punishable by law.

  This doesn't mean that Datsyuk is anti-gay. Not one bit, but being a part of a religion that has clear anti-gay views, it doesn't look good for Datsyuk or his image. I commend Datsyuk for his faith, but his comments, or lack thereof, could not have come at a worse time for the NHL and sports in general.

  We are entering an age where gay athletes are on the verge of coming out of the closet during their playing days. Jason Collins of the NBA just became the first active athlete to come out as gay and players in the NFL are said to be close to coming out. More support is needed from fellow athletes in order for this to happen. The NHL has been pretty great about giving support with the 'You Can Play' organization, but again more support is needed and more players to say that it's okay for gays to play hockey.

  The next Winter Olympics is set to take place next year in Sochi, Russia and the new anti-gay laws are under an even bigger microscope. It was very questionable on whether or not LGBT Olympians would be accepted at the Games, but the Russian government has said that they are welcome (if you can believe the Russian government). Pavel Datsyuk is a well known and perhaps the biggest Russian hockey star playing right now and any comment from him regarding this issue will persuade some people.

  Datsyuk's lack of a comment and hiding behind his faith is a damning blow for the anti-gay law protesters. Had Pavel Datsyuk actually come out and said that he doesn't support the laws, it could have been a major coup.

Greg Wyshynski opted to reserve judgement on Datsyuk, tweeting,

I'm more offended that a Twitter quote and a religious affiliation are being used to define Datsyuk as "anti-gay" than anything he said.

— Greg Wyshynski (@wyshynski) August 22, 2013


Perhaps Wyshynski has a point, I mean Datsyuk never really came out and said he fully supports the laws. All he said was that he was Orthodox. That's it. Sure, Datsyuk could have given a no comment or say that he his an Orthodox, but doesn't support the Church's views on homosexuality, presuming Datsyuk actually feels that way.

  Another thing that came to mind has the stereotypical view that all religious people are anti-gay. That is simply not true. While there are several religious leaders that have well known anti-gay views, they don't speak for their followers. It is completely possible to be both religious and in favor of gay rights.

  In fact Pope Francis has said, “If someone is gay and he searches for the Lord and has good will, who am I to judge?” A shocking, but nice step in the right direction given the Catholic Church's current views regarding homosexuality. If the Pope can change his views on homosexuality, then any on can.

  Pavel Datsyuk plays in Michigan, a state where gay marriage could be on the ballot in the near future, and will probably be asked this same question time and time again. Hopefully the next time Datsyuk takes a definitive stand on the matter and hopefully it's against the draconian laws set in place in Mother Russia.


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