SAN JOSE, CA (KGO) — The San Jose Sharks took to the ice on Saturday night wearing jerseys dressed in colors that support the LGBTQ+ community, but goaltender James Reimer refused to take part, citing his Christian beliefs.
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“In this particular case, I personally choose not to endorse anything — a sexual identity or orientation — that is based on the Bible, which I consider to be the highest authority in my life,” said the 13-year-old NHL veteran. “I fought this because I know that the initial reaction to a statement like this or showing up at a warm-up without a jersey can come across as offensive or a slap in the face.”
“Something that he believes has harmed our community throughout history and is harming us right now,” said Susannah Ford, San Francisco Pride chief executive. “The San Jose sharks themselves should mean inclusion because they’re here in the Bay Area and people in the Bay Area support the San Jose Sharks.”
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The San Jose Sharks said in a statement, “…we also recognize and accept people’s rights to express themselves…as an organization we will not fail to support the LGBTQIA+ community.”
Fans also weighed in, including San Jose council member Omar Torres, who attended the game.
“I am very disappointed that James Reimer chose not to wear the pride jersey,” he said, pointing to the hundreds of anti-LGBTQ+ bills passed across the country. “The LGBTQ community is under attack. They are insulted and dehumanized, and it is a pity that he did not wear a T-shirt tonight.
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“I sincerely believe that this is the right choice. He can do what he wants. Everyone will have an opinion, but if that’s what he wants to do, that’s what he wants to do.” Sharks fan Jordyn Perez said.
“I believe that it is his right to express his beliefs and views the way he wants, as long as he does not show aggression or anger about it. Not wearing a jersey shouldn’t be such a big deal,” added another fan, Ben Kreinbrink.
But Ford says not wearing pride-themed jerseys sends a dangerous message.
“We have suffered because people think and act this way. And we were afraid of it. I know it kept me locked up and I’m not going to put up with it,” Ford said. “I’ll meet him wherever he wants to talk about it.”
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