NHL: Goalkeeper James Reimer's turn to refuse to wear a Pride jersey
Like Ivan Provorov, San Jose Sharks goaltender James Reimer justified his decision to refuse to wear a Pride jersey on religious grounds.
The Sharks will celebrate their annual Pride night on Saturday when they host the New York Islanders. However, Reimer will not be able to be seen wearing their special bib aimed at raising awareness of the issues of the LBGTQIA+ community.
The 35-year-old Manitoban met with the media during the afternoon to explain their decision.
“Throughout my 13 year career in the National Hockey League (NHL), I have been a Christian. Not just in principle, but also in how I choose to live my life on a daily basis. I have faith in Jesus Christ, who died on the cross for my sins, and who asks me in return to love everyone and believe in him.
“I don't feel hatred for anyone and I've always wanted to treat everyone in my path with respect and kindness. In this specific case, I have chosen not to support an initiative that goes against my beliefs, which are based on the Bible.
“I strongly believe that each person's life matters , and that the LGBTQIA+ community should be welcome in all aspects of the sport of hockey.”
Sharks captain Logan Couture said he respects his teammate's decision, not the endorse for all that.
“Every individual is different and has their own beliefs. The rest of the team will wear the jersey. I think the guys in the locker room are very excited to wear it and celebrate.
“Hockey is at its best when everyone is included. I believe it is an inclusive sport. We want that to be the case.”
The Californian team had announced, a few hours earlier, that they would use their platform throughout the evening to inform their supporters about the issues affecting the LGBTQIA+ community. She also reacted in a press release to Reimer's controversial decision.
“[…] We promote standards [of equality and inclusion] but we also recognize the importance freedom of expression, regardless of the subject or the cause,” reads the statement.
In January, Philadelphia Flyers member Ivan Provorov also refused to wear a rainbow jersey for religious reasons.
The Minnesota Wild, Islanders and New York Rangers have also canceled the wearing of special Pride bibs in recent months.