An LGBTQ Pride jersey caused a U.S. soccer player to turn down an opportunity to play for the U.S. women’s national team.
Jaelene Hinkle, who plays for the North Carolina Courage of the National Women’s Soccer League, said her Christian beliefs prevented her from wearing the jersey despite her dream of playing for the team.
“I just felt so convicted in my spirit that it wasn’t my job to wear this jersey,” Hinkle said in an interview with CBN from last June that was aired on Wednesday.
She appreciated the honor of playing for the team.
“I’m being invited to play the game I love for the country,” she told CBN. “There’s an emblem of the U.S. flag on my chest. That’s huge.”
“I gave myself three days to just seek and pray and determine he [God] was asking me to do in this situation,” she explained.
“I’m essentially giving up the one dream little girls dream about their entire life, and that I’m saying no to. It was very disappointing,” she said.
She withdrew from the team amid much social media backlash but had the support of her teammates.
In a time when controversy reigns over the decision of football players who refuse to stand during the national anthem, personal convictions come at a cost. But Hinkle is confident her decision was the right one.
The real question is why @JaeHinkle_15 was forced to object to something that shouldn’t have been there in the first place. The only “Pride” on a national team jersey should the pride in our flag and of representing the USA. https://t.co/F7ttFtwI7E
— Jeremy Carl (@jeremycarl4) May 31, 2018
Her team, the North Carolina Courage, played the Portland Thorns on Wednesday night and the announcement of Hinkle’s name drew some boos from the crowd.
Jaelene Hinkle — a Courage player who declined a U.S. Women’s Team call up last June apparently because the team would be wearing jerseys in honor of LGBTQ Pride Month — was just booed by the home crowd as she was announced. #PORvNC
— Hayes Gardner (@HayesGardner) May 31, 2018
Some waved rainbow flags and one brought a banner saying “Personal Reasons” in rainbow colors.
A “PERSONAL REASONS” in rainbow letters two-pole in Portland at tonight’s Thorns FC/NC Courage match. Referencing Jaelene Hinkle declining a USWNT call-up last summer because of the jerseys the team wore in honor of LGBTQ Pride Month. pic.twitter.com/UpZTJq3f3b
— Jacob Cristobal (@jacobcristobal) May 31, 2018
Jessica McDonald defended her teammate and criticized the negative actions by others as “uncalled for.”
“She is high on her faith, and in my honest option that’s absolutely incredible,” McDonald said, ESPN reported. “If she’s for God, then that’s fine, that’s great if that’s what keeps her going in her life and keeps positivity in her life, then let that be. Everyone has their opinions about The Bible and God. It’s obviously not in my control what she thinks.
“At the end of the day, I’m still going to be friends with her. We have no problems with each other,” McDonald added. “She’s never said anything bad about me. She never said anything bad about anybody. So, for people to pass on that kind of judgement on another human being, I think it’s sort of uncalled for. She’s got her opinions. That’s fine. Everybody does. It hasn’t affected our team at all.”
Courage coach Paul Riley echoed McDonald’s sentiments.
“She’s got a good heart, and she battled through the game. It’s not an easy thing for her,” Riley said. “I give her a lot of credit to be perfectly honest. Whatever her beliefs are, whatever she believes in, that’s her. It doesn’t affect the team. It doesn’t seem to affect anybody on the team.”
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