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San Jose Sharks goalie James Reimer defended his decision to forgo wearing a Pride-themed jersey and miss warmups completely before a game earlier this month.
Reimer cited his religious beliefs, as others have this season, as the reason he would not wear the jersey to show support for the LGBTQ+ community in San Jose. In an interview with The Athletic and San Jose Hockey Now, Reimer was asked point-blank his thoughts on transgender people.
"I think I would just refer back to my statement on that one. My beliefs in Christ, what I think the Bible says on that stuff. But people, regardless of their orientation or their activity or whatnot, they have value and worth, I would do my best to love them, the best way I know how," he said. "I don’t think there’s a limit per se. And it might be, I don’t know if it’s hard for people to understand or whatnot.
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Goaltender James Reimer, #47 of the San Jose Sharks, guards the net during second period action against the Winnipeg Jets at Canada Life Centre on March 6, 2023 in Winnipeg, Manitoba, Canada. (Jonathan Kozub/NHLI via Getty Images)
"But what I said, especially the last statement, everyone has value and worth. I’ll tell you, I wish people knew that wasn’t just a line I said. I have a heart for people. It doesn’t matter what you’ve done in the past, what you do, and whatnot. I don’t want to keep [referring to my statement] over and over again, right? But obviously, I have my beliefs and things that I can’t personally endorse. But man, you love the person, you try and do whatever you can to get to know them or whatnot. That’s what I have to say, I guess."
Reimer said he has not thought about some of the criticism he has received.
James Reimer, #47 of the San Jose Sharks, gets a drink during the TV timeout in the first period against the Edmonton Oilers on March 20, 2023 at Rogers Place in Edmonton, Alberta, Canada. (Lawrence Scott/Getty Images)
"It’s not that I don’t care, but it’s not a decision where on that Friday night I was like, ‘Oh, this is what I’m going to do.’ It’s something that I thought about for a long time, probably almost a year. I tried to go to incredible lengths to try and say something as sensitively and decently as possible and try to understand all points. I tried to take all of that into account," he said.
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"I’ve seen a few comments here and there. I don’t want to say that I’ve thought of all (the reaction) before or thought of it leading up to it. I’m not all-knowing or have incredible wisdom. But it is something that I put a lot of thought into and tried to be as caring as possible."
Reimer initially cited his Christian beliefs when he refused to wear the warmup jersey back on March 18.
"For all 13 years of my NHL career, I have been a Christian — not just in title, but in how I choose to live my life daily. I have a personal faith in Jesus Christ who died on the cross for my sins and, in response, asks me to love everyone and follow him," he said in a statement through the Sharks. "I have no hate in my heart for anyone, and I have always strived to treat everyone that I encounter with respect and kindness.
James Reimer, #47 of the San Jose Sharks, looks on from his crease during their NHL game against the Vancouver Canucks at Rogers Arena March 23, 2023 in Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada. (Jeff Vinnick/NHLI via Getty Images)
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"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 my life."