San Jose Sharks pride night: Statements from James Reimer, the Sharks and You Can Play Project

SAN JOSE — San Jose Sharks goalie James Reimer said today the Pride-themed jerseys team members are planning to wear to show support of the LGBTQIA+ community runs counter to his personal religious convictions.

For that reason, he won’t be participating in the team’s pregame warmup, with the Sharks set to face the New York Islanders at SAP Center

Here are statements from Reimer, the Sharks, and the You Can Play Project.

James Reimer

Under the umbrella of the NHL’s Hockey is for Everyone initiative, the San Jose Sharks have chosen to wear jerseys in support of the LGBTQIA+ community tonight.

For all 13 years of my NHL career, I have been a Christian – not just in title, but in how I choose to live my life daily. 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 hate in my heart for anyone, and I have always strived to treat everyone that I encounter with respect and kindness. In this specific instance, I am choosing not to endorse something that is counter to my personal convictions which are 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 all others, should be welcomed in all aspects of the game of hockey.

San Jose Sharks

Continuing a long-standing commitment of allyship with the LGBTQIA+ community, Sharks Sports & Entertainment is extremely proud to host our 2023 Sharks Pride Night. This week’s events, culminating with tonight’s game against the New York Islanders, reinforce our organization’s values and dedication to an inclusive, welcoming, and safe environment for all guests in each of our venues.

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As we promote these standards, we also acknowledge and accept the rights of individuals to express themselves, including how or whether they choose to express their beliefs, regardless of the cause or topic.

As an organization, we will not waver in our support of the LGBTQIA+ community and continue to encourage others to engage in active allyship.

You Can Play Project

Looking back over our 11 years of working with the NHL, we are so appreciative of teams like the Sharks hosting pride nights and all the players, staff, fans, and community that support the visibility and welcoming of the LGBTQ+ community to hockey. We hope the press and story focuses on the progress made and celebration of that effort over anyone trying to take away from the message of the event.

Religion and respect are not in conflict with each other, and we are certainly disappointed when religion is used as a reason to not support our community. Wearing pride jerseys, like any celebration jersey worn, is not about the personal feelings of an athlete; rather the communication from the team 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 these are setbacks of a minor nature, in my view, in terms of where we are versus where we were 12 years ago…And I don’t think anyone should lose sight of that.”

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