NWSL player Jaelene Daniels refuses to wear Pride jersey

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National Women’s Soccer League defender Jaelene Daniels sat out Friday night’s North Carolina Courage game after refusing to wear a pride jersey, confirms the team.

A team spokesperson told the media before the start of the game that Daniels, 29, would not be on the field for Friday’s game. against the spirit of washington due to his decision not to wear the Pride of Courage themed jerseys.

Washington Spirit defenseman Kelley O’Hara, left, and North Carolina Courage defenseman Jaelene Hinkle Daniels battle for a ball during an NWSL game on March 30, 2022, at Audi Field in Washington, DC
(Randy Litzinger/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images)

“Jaelene will not be on the list tonight as she has made the decision not to wear our Pride shirt,” the statement read via ESPN. “While we are disappointed with her choice, we respect her right to make this decision on her own.

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“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.”

Daniels, who signed a one-year contract with the Courage in December, previously turned down an offer to play for the women’s national team in 2017 after refusing to wear pride jerseys, according to Sports Illustrated.

North Carolina Courage's Jaelene Daniels, left, looks to pass the ball against Angel City FC at Banc of California Stadium on April 29, 2022 in Los Angeles.

North Carolina Courage’s Jaelene Daniels, left, looks to pass the ball against Angel City FC at Banc of California Stadium on April 29, 2022 in Los Angeles.
(Meg Oliphant/Getty Images)

The club released a statement following the announcement of his signing after facing heavy criticism.

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“The decision to re-sign Jaelene was not taken lightly and included important conversations between the leadership of the organization and Jaelene,” the open letter to fans said, via ESPN. “The priority expressed in these conversations is the safety of our players and maintaining an inclusive and respectful space for the whole team.”

Daniels later released her own statement about the controversy on social media.

North Carolina Courage's Jaelene Daniels instructs her team during a game against Portland Thorns FC at Zions Bank Stadium on July 17, 2020, in Herriman, Utah.

North Carolina Courage’s Jaelene Daniels instructs her team during a game against Portland Thorns FC at Zions Bank Stadium on July 17, 2020, in Herriman, Utah.
(Bryan Byerly/ISI Photos/Getty Images)

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“I’m staying attached to my faith and my desire for people to know that my love for them is not based on their belief system or sexuality,” she wrote. “I pray and strongly believe that my teammates know how much I love them. cherish, respect and love them. “

She has yet to comment on Friday’s incident.

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