A National Hockey League goalie stood tall for his Christian values on Saturday and refused to wear a so-called “pride” jersey before the team’s Saturday home game.
NHL teams have held such nights throughout the season, with players wearing rainbow jerseys or other designs to show support for the LGBT movement.
San Jose goalie James Reimer said that crossed a line and issued a statement the Sharks posted on social media.
“For all 13 years of my NHL career, I have been a Christian – not just in title, but in how I choose to live my life daily. I have a personal faith in Jesus Christ who died on the cross for my sins and, in response, asks me to love everyone and follow Him,” he said.
A statement from Goaltender, James Reimer: pic.twitter.com/GwhWxhbmb4
— San Jose Sharks (@SanJoseSharks) March 18, 2023
“I have no hate in my heart for anyone, and I have always strived to treat everyone that I encounter with respect and kindness. In this specific instance, I am choosing not to endorse something that is counter to my personal convictions which are based on the Bible, the highest authority in my life,” the statement said.
“I strongly believe that every person has value and worth, and the LGBTQIA+ community, like all others, should be welcomed in all aspects of the game of hockey,” he statement said.
“When it becomes a jersey, it’s a little more … some guys don’t do the tape. Some guys do. (The tape) is not as, I don’t know what the right word is, but mandatory or in your face or whatever. So when it comes to jerseys, then it’s definitely more of a decision, and it kind of amounts to something like this if you choose not to wear the jersey,” he said.
James Reimer spoke with the local media about his decision to not wear a Pride jersey tonight for the Sharks. Here are a few of Reimer’s answers on questions related to his decision (1/2) … pic.twitter.com/pIaNO8QhQ3
— Corey Masisak (@cmasisak22) March 18, 2023
“Then we’re kind of back to that question when I saw teams starting to wear jerseys, I knew that would interact with my Christian faith,” he said.
The team offered a statement on its website.
“Continuing a long-standing commitment of allyship with the LGBTQIA+ community, Sharks Sports & Entertainment is extremely proud to host our 2023 Sharks Pride Night. This week’s events, culminating with tonight’s game against the New York Islanders, reinforce our organization’s values and dedication to an inclusive, welcoming, and safe environment for all guests in each of our venues,” the statement said.
“As we promote these standards, we also acknowledge and accept the rights of individuals to express themselves, including how or whether they choose to express their beliefs, regardless of the cause or topic. As an organization, we will not waver in our support of the LGBTQIA+ community and continue to encourage others to engage in active allyship,” the statement said.
In speaking about Reimer’s decision, Sharks captain Logan Couture said he supported the event, but added, “Every individual has a choice, and he has made his.”
Earlier this month the Minnesota Wild did not keep a pledge that promised that players would wear so-called “pride” jerseys in warmups before that team’s “pride night.”
According to the Athletic, the team had promised to wear rainbow-colored jerseys during warmups, which were to be auctioned off for charity.
The wearing of rainbow-colored jerseys as part of so-called “pride” events has run into flak before in the NHL, according to Fox News.
Philadelphia Flyers defenseman Ivan Provorov would not participate in warmups, citing his religion, when the team wore its LGBT jerseys for warmups.
“Clubs decide whom to celebrate, when and how — with League counsel and support. Players are free to decide which initiatives to support, and we continue to encourage their voices and perspectives on social and cultural issues,” the NHL said in a statement at the time.
In January, the entire New York Rangers team rejected the jerseys.
“Our organization respects the LGBTQ+ community, and we are proud to bring attention to important local community organizations as part of another great Pride Night. In keeping with our organization’s core values, we support everyone’s individual right to respectfully express their beliefs,” the Rangers said in a statement.
CORRECTION, March 20, 2023: James Reimer is the San Jose Sharks goalie who issued a statement Saturday. An earlier version of this article failed to provide his full name.
This article appeared originally on The Western Journal.
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