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NC Courage defender Jaelene Daniels refuses to play on Pride Night

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HERRIMAN, UT - JULY 17: Jaylene Daniels #15 of North Carolina Courage coaches the team during a game between Portland Thorns FC and North Carolina Courage at Zions Bank Stadium on July 17, 2020 in Herriman, Utah.  (Photo by Brian Beyrle/ISI Photos/Getty Images).
The North Carolina Courage have apologized to fans after re-signing Jaylen Daniels in 2021. (Photo by Brian Beyrle/ISI Photos/Getty Images).

North Carolina Courage quarterback Jaylene Daniels, who refused to play for the US team in a Pride Month jerseynow refuses to play for his club at Pride Night.

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The Courage will play the Washington Spirit on Friday night in the Women’s National Football League. hold the first pre-match pride festival, a celebration of the LGBTQ+ community. They will also be wearing rainbow-themed jerseys.

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“Jaelyn will not be on the list tonight as she has made the decision not to wear our Pride jersey,” a spokeswoman for Courage said hours before kickoff at 7:30 p.m.

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“While we are disappointed with her choice, we respect her right to make this decision on her own,” the statement said. “We are excited to celebrate the LGBTQIA+ community tonight with our fans, players and staff and look forward to hosting our first ever Pride Festival ahead of kick off.”

Daniels (née Hinkle) has yet to explain her decision.

In 2018, a year after turning down the USWNT draft, she said that, as a devout Christian, she “felt so condemned in my spirit that it was not my duty to wearJersey Pride. To LGBTQ+ fans and other players, her message and beliefs were clear.

Daniels retired in 2020 at the age of 27 but retired last December. The Courage received backlash when they re-signed her and apologized to their fans.

“We, as a club, recognize the impact this announcement has had on our community,” the club said in a statement in response to the protests. “We have spent the last few days reading your posts and reflecting on our actions. We are very sorry for all those we offended, especially those in the LGBTQIA+ community.”

Daniels indirectly responded to the criticism in her own statement. “I believe that everyone, regardless of gender, ethnicity, beliefs or abilities, is worthy of respect, value and love,” she wrote, partially. “My beliefs may call me to live differently, but my love is deep for everyone.”

“During this season, I look forward to meeting, connecting and growing with more of you – the fans – as this club continues to be one of the best in the world on and off the pitch,” she concluded.

She has played in all nine 2022 Courage games – six times as a starter and three off the bench. But the team (2-5-2) struggled, and the atmosphere around the club seemed to have deteriorated.

“Fan support has faltered,” says Merritt Mathias, a Courage defenseman since 2018. said in May. “And there are reasons for this. And there are reasons why people aren’t here and don’t want to spend their money or their beliefs, and that’s up to them.

“I am part of a community that has struggled with some of the decisions this club has made,” she continued. Calling on fans to “come back” and support the club, she acknowledged that the community itself did not feel supported by the club.

“I don’t think it was some kind of secret,” Matthias continued. “We haven’t had a Pride Night for three years, we haven’t worn a jersey. Everyone knows it and I think Jaelin’s return [Daniels] it was a decision made by the club, and as a player who is part of the community, you have to overcome these difficulties, but this is the team. You must be able to accept people of all religions, different views, different backgrounds.”


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