Sharks’ James Reimer refuses to wear Pride-themed jersey

San Jose Sharks goaltender James Reimer will not participate in pre-game warm-ups, saying the team’s decision to wear Pride-themed jerseys to support the LGBTQ community goes against of his religious beliefs.

The Manitoba-born goaltender, who started playing minor hockey in the small town of Arborg, said in a statement Saturday that he made the decision based on his Christian beliefs, adding that he “s always strived to treat everyone with respect” and that members of the LGBTQ community should be welcome in hockey.

“In this specific instance, I’m choosing not to endorse something that goes against my personal beliefs, which are based on the Bible, the highest authority in my life,” Reimer said.

Reimer is the second NHL player this season to decline to participate in warm-ups with Pride-themed jerseys, along with Philadelphia’s Ivan Provorov who declined in January. Reimer wasn’t supposed to start Saturday night’s home game against the New York Islanders, which is Pride night.

Additionally, the New York Rangers chose not to wear Pride jerseys or use Pride tape as part of their January night despite previously publicizing the plan.

The Sharks said in a statement they were proud to host Pride Night, saying the event reinforces the team’s commitment to inclusivity.

“As we promote these standards, we also recognize and accept the rights of individuals to express themselves, including how or if they choose to express their beliefs, regardless of the cause or topic,” the statement said. team in a statement. “As an organization, we will not hesitate to support the LGBTQIA+ community and will continue to encourage others to actively join together.”

The You Can Play Project, which works to promote inclusivity in sport, said the organization was disappointed with Reimer’s actions.

“Religion and respect are not in conflict, and we are certainly disappointed when religion is used as a reason for not supporting our community,” the organization said.

“Wearing pride jerseys, like any celebratory jersey worn, is not about an athlete’s personal feelings, but rather about team communication that a community is welcome in the arena and sport.”

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