Sharks goalkeeper James Reimer refuses to wear a Pride jersey
San Jose Sharks goaltender James Reimer did not participate in pregame practice Saturday night, saying the team’s decision to wear Pride-themed T-shirts in support of the LGBTQ community went against his religious beliefs.
In a statement Saturday, Reimer said he made the decision based on his Christian beliefs, adding that he “has always strived to treat everyone with respect” and that members of the LGBTQ community should be welcomed to hockey.
“In this specific case, I am choosing not to endorse something that goes against my personal convictions, which are based on the Bible, which is the highest authority on life,” Reimer said.
Reimer is the second NHL player this season to refuse to partake in a warm-up in Pride-themed jerseys, with Ivan Provorov Philadelphia retreated in January. Reimer did not start in the Saturday night home game against the New York Islanders, which was Pride Night.
In addition, the New York Rangers team She chose not to wear Pride T-shirts Or use a Pride stick as part of their January night though this plan is announced in advance.
The Sharks said in a statement that they are proud to host Pride Night, saying the event reinforces the team’s commitment to inclusivity.
“If we strengthen these standards, we also recognize and accept the rights of individuals to express themselves, including how or whether they choose to express their beliefs, regardless of reason or subject matter,” the team said in a statement. “As an organization, we will not waver in our support of the LGBTQIA+ community and will continue to encourage others to engage in an active coalition.”
The You Can Play Project, which works to promote inclusivity in sports, said the organization was disappointed in Reimer’s actions.
“Religion and respect are not mutually exclusive, and we are certainly disappointed when religion is used as a reason not to support our community,” the organization said. “Wearing pride jerseys, like any ceremonial jersey, is not about the personal feelings of the athlete; rather, it is the communication from the team that the community is welcome in the arena and the sport.”