As professional sports continue to endorse the LGBT movement’s coerced celebration of selected sexual behaviors, Christian athletes increasingly face the possibility of choosing between their livelihoods and their faith.
In late July, as her team was about to play against the Washington Spirit, defender Jaelene Daniels from the North Carolina Courage refused to wear a gay pride jersey. The jerseys and game marked an end to the club’s “Pride Festival.”
In response to Daniels’ refusal, Sean Nahas, her team’s coach, chose not to place her on the roster of eligible players for the game. Nahas admitted he made the decision to appease his LGBTQ players.
This isn’t the first time Daniels encountered trouble for adhering to her beliefs. In May 2017, she left the national team’s training camp two weeks after the United States Soccer Federation announced plans to have the women’s team wear rainbow jersey numerals in overseas exhibitions during LBGT Pride Month. Since making this decision, Daniels hasn’t represented the United States in international competition despite having frequently done so in the past.
Daniels’ choice to reject forced LGBTQ activism reflects her faith. When the Supreme Court legalized same-sex marriage in 2015, she tweeted, “This world is falling farther and farther away from God … All that can be done by believers is to continue to pray.”
The defender elaborated on Instagram: “I believe with every fiber in my body that what was written 2,000 years ago in the Bible is undoubtedly true. It’s not a fictional book. It’s not a pick and choose what you want to believe … My heart is that as Christians we don’t begin to throw a tantrum over what has been brought into law today, but we become that much more loving. That through our love, the lost, rejected, and abandoned find Christ.”
Daniels does not stand alone. On June 4, as the Tampa Bay Rays prepared for their own “Pride Night” against the Chicago White Sox, five pitchers chose not to wear adhesive patches depicting the Rays’ sunburst emblem in a rainbow motif or caps featuring the “TB” logo in a similar fashion. Manager Kevin Cash kept none of them from playing. Two even pitched in relief.
Reliever Jason Adam, who led Rays’ pitchers in appearances as of Aug. 1, was among those who chose not to wear the themed accessories. He explained why afterward.
“A lot of it comes down to faith,” Adam said. “So it’s a hard decision. Ultimately, we all said we want them to know that all are welcome and loved here.”
Nevertheless, some LGBT individuals and their supporters were enraged by the athletes declining to celebrate them.
“FACT CHECK: Jesus never said a word about homosexuality, but he did tell Tampa Rays pitcher Jason Adams (sic) not to be a judgmental, holier-than-thou -sshole,” tweeted Devin Green, an Internet comedian who mocks Christianity as the satirical character “Betty Bowers.”
With woke ideology more swiftly politicizing women’s sports, Daniels confronts more sustained criticism. When the Courage re-signed her in December, some alleged fans became so outraged that the club apologized in a statement defending the move.
“We are very sorry to all those we have hurt, especially those within the LGBTQIA+ community,” the statement read. “We’ve spent the past few days reading your messages and reflecting on our actions.
“The decision to re-sign Jaelene was not made lightly and included significant conversations between organization leadership and Jaelene. The priority expressed in those conversations is the safety of our players and maintaining an inclusive, respectful space for the entire team.”
The statement included several initiatives to support the LGBT movement and “remedy the harm” Daniels’ signing represented. One would be the commitment to rainbow-themed jerseys. Daniels responded with a statement on Instagram that praised the club and her teammates but also included an affirmation of her beliefs.
She said, “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.”