A professional women’s soccer team sidelined a Christian player for refusing to wear a gay pride-themed jersey.
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Jaelene Daniels, a defender for North Carolina Courage, was benched before Friday’s National Women’s Soccer League game against the Washington Spirit.
“Jaelene will not be rostered tonight as she has made the decision to not wear our Pride jersey,” a Courage spokesman said before the game, according to The Washington Post.
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“While we’re disappointed with her choice, we respect her right to make that decision for herself,” the team added.
Our prematch and warmup tops today 💙🏳️🌈🏳️⚧️— NC Courage (@TheNCCourage) July 29, 2022
Thank you to @TheFreshMarket for supporting us on Pride Night (and always) and for your valued partnership with the club! #CourageUnitesUs | #ThisIsTheFreshMarket pic.twitter.com/89Fg7YgF5j
“We’ll be celebrating Pride Night… but we’re proud to lift up the LGBTQIA+ community all year long,” the team wrote on social media before the game that ended in a 3-3 tie.
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National radio host and best-selling author Todd Starnes praised Daniels for her stand.
“It seems to me the only one with courage on that team is Jaelene Daniels,” Starnes said.
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When Daniels was re-signed last year, the team sent out an open letter apologizing to the “LGBTQIA+ community.”
“In response to the recent news of re-signing Jaelene Daniels, we as a club acknowledge the impact this announcement has on our community,” the team said in an open letter said, via ESPN.
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“The decision to re-sign Jaelene was not made lightly and included significant conversations between organization leadership and Jaelene,” the team added. “The priority expressed in those conversations is the safety of our players and maintaining an inclusive, respectful space for the entire team.”
Sincerely, Jae 🤍 pic.twitter.com/LeF6Jq39hj— Jaelene Daniels (@jaelenedaniels) December 23, 2021
Daniels refused to wear a gay-pride jersey in 2017 when she played on the U.S. national team.