Citing his religious beliefs, San Jose Sharks goalie James Reimer has declined to participate in pregame activities on Saturday night that would require him to wear a promotional “Pride” themed jersey.
Reimer issued a statement that said he “always strived to treat everyone with respect” and that members of the LGBTQ community should be welcome in hockey.
“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 life,” Reimer said.
The goalie is the second NHL player to refuse wearing Pride gear. Philadelphia’s Ivan Provorov made a similar decline in January. The New York Rangers also opted not to wear Pride jerseys or use Pride stick tape as part of their night in January, despite previously advertising that plan.
The Sharks said in a statement that they are proud to host Pride Night, saying the event reinforces the team’s commitment to inclusiveness.
“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,” the team said in a statement. “As an organization, we will not waver in our support of the LGBTQIA+ community and continue to encourage others to engage in active allyship.”
Associated Press contributed to this report.