North Carolina Courage defender Jaelene Daniels will miss her team’s National Women’s Soccer League (NWSL) game with the Washington Spirit on Friday after refusing to wear a Pride jersey, the Courages have confirmed.
Daniels previously turned down a 2017 U.S. Women’s National Team call-up for rainbow-themed gay pride jerseys.
Friday’s game is part of Courage’s Pride Night celebrations and also includes a pre-game Pride Festival in partnership with Harmony: NC LGBT+ Allied Chamber of Commerce and the LGBT Center of Raleigh.
“Jaelene will not be on the roster tonight as she has made the decision not to wear our Pride jersey,” a Courage spokeswoman said in a statement to the media ahead of the game.
“While we are disappointed with her choice, we respect her right to make this decision for herself. We are thrilled to celebrate the LGBTQIA+ community with our fans, players and staff tonight and look forward to hosting our very first Pride Festival before kick-off.”
Courage faced criticism from fans last December when they re-signed Daniels, who retired last year after playing seven seasons in the NWSL.
“In response to the recent news of Jaelene Daniels’ re-signing, we as a club recognize the impact this announcement has had on our community,” North Carolina Courage said in an unsigned open letter to fans. the time. “We have spent the past few days reading your messages and reflecting on our actions. We are truly sorry to everyone we have hurt, especially those in the LGBTQIA+ community.
“The decision to re-sign Jaelene was not taken lightly and has included important conversations between the leadership of the organization and Jaelene. The priority expressed in these conversations is the safety of our players and the maintenance of an inclusive and respectful space for the whole team.”
Daniels, who has yet to comment on his absence from Friday’s game, also posted his own letter in December, writing that his love for his Courage teammates “has never been based on who they are.”
“I stand by my faith and my desire for people to know that my love for them is not based on their belief system or their sexuality. I pray and strongly believe that my teammates know how much I cherish them. , respects and loves them.”