Jaelene Hinkle, 15, decided not to participate in the U.S. women’s national soccer team (USWNT) friendlies last June. The North Carolina Courage defender objected to her jersey's rainbow lettering.
When Hinkle learned that the USWNT planned to include rainbow lettering on their jerseys to show support for the LGBTQ community during Pride month, she quit the team because she felt that wearing such a jersey went against her Christian religion.
Hinkle told the 700 Club:
I felt so convicted in my spirit, that it was not my job to wear this jersey. And I gave myself 3 days to just seek and pray and determine what he was asking me to do in this situation.
What's weird is that the league's support of LGBTQ players shouldn't exactly come as a shock. U.S. Soccer — especially women's soccer — is pretty gay, with at least three out members of the queer community. As Katelyn Best wrote in OutSports, “the women’s national team fanbase is among the gayest in sports.”
In the major leagues, Hinkle plays with and against LGBTQ people every day, and fans often prominently display rainbow flags in the stands.
Is her political statement more calculated than she would have us think?
A player with that attitude in 2018 doesn't deserve to represent the USA on an athletic field. You can have those beliefs, but leave your cleats at home. No room for intolerance. Especially intolerance masked by religion.— Rome Van Lara (@RomeVanLara23) June 1, 2018
I will never understand....Some people are gay. Period. God made them too.— Gwen Davies (@gwenedavies) June 1, 2018