Even though it gets less publicity now, Chick-Fil-A still gives lots of money to anti-gay groups. These hockey fans found a very public way to voice their displeasure.
Between periods at a hockey game isn’t the most likely place to find heartwarming events taking place; usually there’s just a Zamboni ice-resurfacing machine uneventfully passing back and forth across the ice for 15 or so minutes, most of which you spend in line for the bathroom. However, on Sunday night at a minor-league hockey game in Cincinnati, some protesters snatched an opportunity to make their voices heard — using a Zamboni machine.
The Cincinnati Cyclones, a minor-league hockey affiliate of the NHL’s Buffalo Sabres, were playing a game against the Kalamazoo Wings — one they’d ultimately lose — when the incident took place. The Cyclones offer access to a special Zamboni they call the “Fan Zam,” which allows Cyclones fans the opportunity to ride around the ice between periods for a $10 fee.
Now, the Cincinnati Cyclones’ Fan Zam isn’t just any old Zamboni — it’s sponsored by Chick-Fil-A. And while it’s been quite a few years since the Jim Henson Company severed ties with Chick-Fil-A in 2012 over their donations to anti-gay groups around the world, the idea held by some that Chick-Fil-A has ceased donating to anti-LGBTQ groups is quite mistaken. A ThinkProgress investigation (https://www.scribd.com/document/353081106/Chick-fil-A-Foundation-2015-Form-990) discovered over $1 million in donations made by Chick-Fil-A in 2015 to anti-LGBTQ groups like the Salvation Army and the Fellowship of Christian Athletes. Indeed, as recently as last month, yet more donations to anti-gay groups by Chick-Fil-A are still coming to light. (https://www.vox.com/the-goods/2019/3/21/18275850/chick-fil-a-anti-lgbtq-donations)
This is what the Cyclones fans who took that fateful Zamboni ride were protesting. Hitting the ice with what appeared to be signs celebrating a friend’s birthday, they soon unfolded their signs to reveal the message “Chick-Fil-A is anti-gay.” The fans were quickly evicted from the Zamboni, and the arena in which the Cyclones game was taking place.
What was perhaps the most fascinating part of this whole story occurred afterward, when the Cyclones released an official statement condemning the protest. “The Cincinnati Cyclones & U.S. Bank Arena do not condone this type of behavior or the messaging expressed,” they wrote in a press release. The message they are referring to here, that Chick-Fil-A is anti-gay, is provably true, making the decision of the Cyclones to speak of it as something that one either does or does not condone a bit incoherent. The truth is the truth, regardless of how anyone feels about it.
“These actions do not align with the family friendly atmosphere that we aim to provide,” the team went on to state. “Chick-fil-A has been a wonderful partner and we are thankful for their on-going support.” Clearly, if they are forced to choose between a random fast-food place and the entire LGBTQ community, the Cyclones will choose the fast-food franchise. Gotta keep that corporate synergy going, right?
It’s a shame, because hockey is a great sport. However, like many great sports, being both a fan and a member of the LGBTQ community often forces you to make tough choices. We applaud the fans who made the tough choice to get kicked out of a hockey game in order to speak an uncomfortable truth to the corporate powers that be. Hopefully the Cincinnati Cyclones will eventually see that the LGBTQ community is more deserving of respect than some chicken joint that, come to think of it, wouldn’t even have been open during that Sunday game anyway.
Photo via Reddit