Sharks goalie James Reimer chooses not to wear Pride jersey
San Jose Sharks goaltender James Reimer has become the latest NHL player to refuse to wear a Pride Night jersey.
35 year old networker issued a statement shared with the Sharks, stating that he would not be wearing the jersey on Saturday for religious reasons.
“Under the auspices of the NHL’s Hockey for All initiative, the San Jose Sharks have decided to wear jerseys tonight in support of the LGBTQIA+ community,” Reimer said.
“All 13 years of my NHL career I was a Christian – not only because of the title, but also because of how I choose my daily life. I have personal faith in Jesus Christ who died on the cross for my sins and in return asks me to love everyone and follow Him.
“There is no hatred in my heart for anyone, and I have always strived to treat everyone I come across with respect and kindness. In this particular case, I choose not to support anything that is contrary to my personal beliefs based on the Bible, the highest authority in my life.
“I strongly believe that every person has value and worth and the LGBTQIA+ community, like everyone else, should be welcomed in all aspects of the game of hockey.”
Reimer, who has also played for the Maple Leafs, Panthers and Hurricanes throughout his career, is the latest in a growing list of players and teams that have opted not to wear special uniforms.
Just a few weeks ago, the Minnesota Wild decided at the last minute to change course and wear the Pride jerseys, drawing widespread criticism. The Wild case came after others — most notably Philadelphia Flyers quarterback Ivan Provorov and the New York Rangers — also decided to ditch the Pride Night tradition.
Speaking to the media following the release of his statement, Reimer spoke about his decision.
“This is just what I saw last year,” he said. “There are a few teams that are starting to wear them, and I just came to the conclusion through my faith that this is contrary to what I think the Bible says …
“I understand what this message is. I think people are trying to show support for the community and I’m sure people in the community feel marginalized,” Reimer added after being asked what he thought the Pride shirt meant. “So it’s people trying to go public with them and support them.
“I personally interpret the Bible this way: you love them, but you cannot support their activities or lifestyle.”
The Sharks, for their part, were firm in their stance, refusing to back down from a show of support despite Reimer’s stance.
Among other initiatives, the Sharks shared that they will be using their Twitter platform during Saturday’s game to “offer information and facts about LGBTQIA+ topics” in lieu of traditional game day coverage.
“We hope this content serves as a reminder that there are more important things than goals, highlights and victories.” the team said. “Hockey is not for everyone until everyone is comfortable playing, working or being a fan of this incredible game.”