San Jose Sharks goalie James Reimer won’t wear Pride Night jersey
James Reimer of the San Jose Sharks opted out of Saturday night’s warm-ups to avoid wearing the team’s Pride Night jerseys, citing religious reasons.
The veteran goaltender’s teammates will wear the uniform in support of the LGBTQIA+ community ahead of their home game against the New York Islanders.
Reimer, 34, released a statement citing his Christianity as the cause of his decision to forgo pregame skating. « In this specific instance, I choose not to endorse something that goes against my personal beliefs which are based on the Bible, the highest authority in my life, » the Guardian wrote.
Reimer said the gesture was not meant to discourage anyone from joining the hockey community. “The LGBTQIA+ community, like all others, should be welcome in all aspects of the game of hockey,” he wrote.
The Sharks organization shared Reimer’s statement on the planned absence on Twitter.
Sharks’ Pride Night is the latest in a long series across the league this season. Their deployment was not without controversy.
In January, the Philadelphia Flyers defenseman decided to skip warm-ups to avoid donning the rainbow jersey, like Reimer, citing his faith. Provorov’s actions found him at the center of a league-wide dialogue.
The New York Rangers announced they would wear the jersey and were criticized for not doing so during warm-ups ahead of their Pride Night. The neighboring islanders also decided to forgo the jerseys and cited team policy.
The Minnesota Wild were thought to have ditched warm-up uniforms to avoid backlash on star player Kirill Kaprizov, whose native Russia punishes public displays of support for the gay community.
The game between the remaining Western Sharks and a team from the Isles in search of playoff hockey will take place at 10:30 p.m. ET.