A player for the National Women’s Soccer League (NWSL) chose to miss a game on Friday night instead of wearing the “Pride” jersey her team was scheduled to wear.
Jaelene Daniels, a Christian and defender for the Carolina Courage, cited her commitment to faith when explaining her decision to miss the game due to the pride-themed jerseys.
“I remain committed to my faith and my desire for people to know that my love for them isn’t based on their belief system or sexuality,” she wrote on social media. “I pray and firmly believe that my teammates know how much I cherish them, respect them, and love them.”
The Courage said they were “disappointed” by Daniels’s decision.
“Jaelene will not be rostered tonight as she has made the decision to not wear our Pride jersey,” the team said via ESPN. “While we’re disappointed with her choice, we respect her right to make that decision for herself.
“We’re excited to celebrate the LGBTQIA+ community with our fans, players and staff tonight and look forward to hosting our first ever Pride Festival before kickoff.”
Our prematch and warmup tops today ??️??️⚧️
Thank you to @TheFreshMarket for supporting us on Pride Night (and always) and for your valued partnership with the club! #CourageUnitesUs | #ThisIsTheFreshMarket pic.twitter.com/89Fg7YgF5j
— NC Courage (@TheNCCourage) July 29, 2022
This is not the first time Daniels has chosen principle over career enhancement. In 2017, the defender turned down an offer to play for the U.S. Women’s National Team (USWNT) due to that team’s plan to wear pride-themed jerseys.