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San Jose Sharks Goalie 2nd NHL Player to Refuse Wearing Pride Jersey

San Jose Sharks Goalie 2nd NHL Player to Refuse Wearing Pride Jersey


San Jose Sharks Goalie 2nd NHL Player to Refuse Wearing Pride Jersey

"People would understand if I wouldn’t be able to wear a Muslim jersey in warm-ups, promoting the Muslim faith, being a Christian and a follower in Christ," Reimer explained.

A second player in the National Hockey League is refusing to wear a Pride jersey on the ice.

San Jose Sharks goalie James Reimer has become the second NHL player, after Philadelphia Flyers player Ivan Provorov, to refuse to wear a Pride-themed jersey or use Pride-themed stick tape as part of the pregame activities of NHL games this season.

"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," the Sharks said in a statement about their decision to wear Pride jerseys during pre-game activities. "As an organization, we will not waver in our support of the LGBTQIA+ community and continue to encourage others to engage in active allyship."

However, Reimer doesn’t agree with that message.

"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," Reimer said in a statement released by the Sharks. "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,' he added. '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."

According to the NHL, the Pride nights and Pride jerseys exist not to "endorse" a "gay lifestyle," but to ensure that everyone, regardless of sexual orientation or gender, feels safe on the ice and at NHL games.

"Pride Month is an opportunity for Players to celebrate alongside the entire LGBTQ+ community," said Jonathan Weatherdon," NHLPA Senior Director of Communications in a 2022 press release. "We are committed to ensuring that hockey is a safe and welcoming environment for everyone who wants to participate, either on the ice or in the stands."

It seems like a simple message and one that doesn’t force players to "endorse" anything they don’t want to other than inclusion. If NHL players don’t want the league to be inclusive of minority populations, perhaps it's not the right league for them.

Reimer also answered some questions about his decision to the San Jose press, where he defended himself, saying that he treats all teammates, regardless of race, religion, or sexual orientation, "with the same kindness and respect."

"Maybe one story to help bridge the gap or to understand? I have lots of awesome teammates, and even in the room here, we have guys that believe different things. But in Toronto, Nazem Kadri as a teammate, loved him to death. I don’t know exactly the extent of his faith, his Muslim faith. But he’s a Muslim," Reimer explained.

"I think you could talk to him and ask him if I treated him any different. I love him. I competed with him on the ice, we joked around, we did life together," he continued. "And yet, people would understand if I wouldn’t be able to wear a Muslim jersey in warm-ups, promoting the Muslim faith, being a Christian and a follower in Christ. He himself would fully understand that."

We aren’t exactly sure what a "Muslim jersey" is, but if a white, Christian, NHL player refused to wear a jersey that said Muslims are welcome in hockey, we think there would be a pretty large outcry against that as well.

Several organizations have also decided as a whole to not wear the Pride jerseys in warmups. The New York Rangers, New York Islanders, and Minnesota Wild all decided to not have players wear Pride jerseys this year.
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Mey Rude

Mey Rude is a journalist and cultural critic who has been covering queer news for a decade. The transgender, Latina lesbian lives in Los Angeles with her fiancée.

Mey Rude is a journalist and cultural critic who has been covering queer news for a decade. The transgender, Latina lesbian lives in Los Angeles with her fiancée.