SAN JOSE — San Jose Sharks goaltender James Reimer said today that the Pride-themed jerseys team members plan to wear to show their support for the LGBTQIA+ community violate his personal religious beliefs.
For that reason, he will not participate in the team’s pregame warmup as the Sharks face the New York Islanders at SAP Center.
Here are statements from Reimer, the Sharks and the You Can Play Project.
Under the umbrella of the NHL’s Hockey is for Everyone initiative, the San Jose Sharks have chosen to wear jerseys tonight in support of the LGBTQIA+ community.
For all 13 years of my NHL career, I’ve been a Christian – not just in title, but in how I choose to live my life on a daily basis. I have a personal faith in Jesus Christ, who died on the cross for my sins and in response asks me to love everyone and follow Him.
I have no hatred in my heart for anyone and I have always strived to treat everyone I meet with respect and kindness. In this particular case, I choose not to endorse anything that conflicts with my personal beliefs that are based on the Bible, the highest authority in my life.
I strongly believe that every person has value and that the LGBTQIA+ community, like everyone else, should be welcome in all aspects of the game of hockey.
San Jose sharks
Sharks Sports & Entertainment continues a longstanding commitment to allying with the LGBTQIA+ community and is extremely proud to host our Sharks Pride Night 2023. This week’s events, culminating in tonight’s game against the New York Islanders, reinforce our organization’s values and commitment to providing an inclusive, welcoming and safe environment for all guests in each of our locations.
While promoting these standards, we also recognize and accept the rights of individuals to express themselves, including how and whether they choose to express their beliefs, regardless of cause or subject.
As an organization, we will not hesitate to support the LGBTQIA+ community and continue to encourage others to forge active allies.
You can play Project
Looking back on our 11 years of partnership with the NHL, we are so thankful for teams like the Sharks who host pride nights and for all the players, staff, fans and community who support the visibility and welcome of the LGBTQ+ community in hockey. We hope the press and story will focus on the progress made and the celebration of that effort over anyone trying to take the message away from the event.
Religion and respect are not incompatible, and we are certainly disappointed when religion is used as a reason not to support our community. Wearing pride jerseys, like any party jersey worn, is not about an athlete’s personal feelings; rather the team’s statement that a community is welcome in the arena and the sport. In the well-chosen words of Brian Burke, “In other words, as disappointed as I am, it’s important that people realize that these are minor setbacks in my opinion, in terms of where we are now versus where we were 12 years . ago… And I don’t think anyone should lose sight of that.”