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Leafs' Rielly: 'I wish players had the right to do more' amid Pride tape ban

Kevin Sousa / National Hockey League / Getty

Morgan Rielly would like to have more freedom in the wake of the NHL's new ban on using Pride tape on the ice.

"I wish players had the right to kind of do more and be more involved," Rielly told the media Tuesday, including TSN. "I'm going to continue to be involved in the community and offer support to those communities and those groups that want that (and) need that.

"As players, we're going to be continue to be involved pretty much no matter what the league says," he said.

Maple Leafs general manager Brad Treliving also expressed his support on behalf of the club.

"Regardless of what is out there, this organization, myself personally, we've always been supporters of the LGBTQ community," the GM said. "Nothing is going to change with that."

The league is forbidding players from using the rainbow-colored tape as part of new theme night rules, deputy commissioner Bill Daly confirmed to The Associated Press earlier Tuesday. The NHL sent a memo to teams last week clarifying what they can and can't do in terms of theme nights, which have historically included celebrating Pride, the military, and other causes.

The makers of pride tape responded to the ban Tuesday, saying they're "extremely disappointed" in the decision.

"We hope the league - and teams - will again show commitment to this important symbol of combatting homophobia," they added.

In June, the league said it wouldn't allow players to wear any type of theme jersey during pregame warmups. That came in response to seven players refusing to wear Pride jerseys for various reasons. Commissioner Gary Bettman said at the time that the seven players' refusals overshadowed their teams' efforts to host Pride nights.

Rielly has been a vocal supporter of Pride and LGBTQ rights, saying in June that his support "is not going to go away" due to the NHL's rules.

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