NC Courage defender Jaelene Daniels sits at Pride Night on her jersey
NC Courage defender Jaelene Daniels will not be attending her team’s Pride Night.
Daniels is not on the roster for Friday’s game against the Washington Spirit at WakeMed Soccer Park in Cary, N.C., due to Courage’s pride-themed jerseys that feature a multicolored logo in support of the community. LGBTQ.
“Jaelene will not be on the list tonight as she has made the decision not to wear our Pride jersey. While we are disappointed with her choice, we respect her right to make this decision on her own,” said the team in a statement to USA TODAY. Sports. “We are thrilled to celebrate the LGBTQIA+ community with our fans, players and staff tonight and look forward to hosting our first-ever Pride Festival before kick-off.”
It’s not the first time the 29-year-old has objected to wearing a pride shirt over her religious beliefs. In June 2017, Daniels turned down a call-up from the United States Women’s National Team because she didn’t want to wear jerseys honoring Pride Month.
“I felt so convinced in my mind that it wasn’t my job to wear that jersey,” Daniels, whose maiden name is Jaelene Hinkle, explained on a Christian talk show in 2018. “I knew in my mind that I was doing the right thing. I knew that I was obedient. Just because you’re obedient doesn’t mean it’s easy.”
Daniels retired from the National Women’s Soccer League in 2020 after six seasons. Courage resigned the defender to a one-year deal in December, sparking some controversy.
In response, Daniels shared a lengthy Instagram Statement, saying that while “my beliefs may call me to live differently…my love runs deep for all.”
“I remain committed to my faith and my desire for people to know that my love for them is not based on their belief system or their sexuality,” Daniels added. “I pray and firmly believe that my teammates know how much I cherish, respect and love them.”
Courage released its own statement after Daniels signed, writing“We are truly sorry to everyone we have hurt, especially those in the LGBTQIA+ community.”
Daniels is the latest athlete to object to Pride Night celebrations.
In June, several Tampa Bay Rays baseball playersincluding pitchers Jason Adam, Jalen Beeks, Brooks Raley, Jeffrey Springs and Ryan Thompson, declined to wear special Pride Night caps, opting instead for everyday ones.