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Sharks' Reimer declines to wear Pride jersey

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San Jose Sharks goaltender James Reimer didn't wear the team's Pride jersey in warmups for Saturday night's game against the New York Islanders.

Reimer did not participate in warmups and dressed as the team's backup for the contest.

"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," Reimer said in an official statement.

He added, "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.

"I strongly believe that every person has value and worth, and the LGBTQIA+ community, like all others, should be welcomed in all aspects of the game of hockey."

The Sharks emphasized their "values and dedication to an inclusive, welcoming, and safe environment for all guests" in an official statement addressing Reimer's decision.

"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 statement continues. "As an organization, we will not waver in our support of the LGBTQIA+ community and (will) continue to encourage others to engage in active allyship."

After Saturday's game, Reimer further explained his decision and cited his relationship with former Toronto Maple Leafs teammate Nazem Kadri. Reimer used the Calgary Flames forward as an example of the goalie not antagonizing someone over a difference in their beliefs but added that even so, he wouldn't show support for Kadri's religion if the situation called for it.

"I don't know exactly the extent of his faith, but he's a Muslim, right? And I think you could talk to him and ask him if I treated him any different," Reimer said. "I loved him, I competed with him on the ice, we joked around, (and) we did life together. And yet, I think that people would understand that I wouldn't be able to wear a Muslim jersey in warmups promoting the Muslim faith, being a Christian and a follower of Christ, and I think (Kadri) himself would fully understand that."

Philadelphia Flyers defenseman Ivan Provorov refused to wear his team's Pride jersey during warmups in January. Later that month, the New York Rangers didn't wear the Pride warmup jerseys they'd advertised beforehand and were originally scheduled to wear.

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