Ashlyn Harris, an openly gay goalkeeper and player on the United States Women’s National Soccer Team (USWNT) who won the Women’s World Cup this month, is hitting back at a former potential teammate, Jaelene Hinkle.
Hinkle famously turned down a spot on the USWNT because ‘God didn’t want her to wear a Pride jersey’.
The USWNT has numerous LGBTI players and a significant LGBTI fanbase. They’ve played in jerseys with rainbow numbers and names several times before.
Hinkle, who currently plays as a defender for the North Carolina Courage, chose to forfeit her spot on the time because of his.
In a recent tweet, Harris denied Hinkle wasn’t accepted on the team because of her religion, but rather because of her homophobia.
‘Hinkle, our team is about inclusion,’ Harris wrote Monday (15 July) morning. ‘Your religion was never the problem.
‘The problem is your intolerance and you are homophobic. You don’t belong in a sport that aims to unite and bring people together. You would never fit into our pack or what this team stands for.’
Harris was responding to a viral tweet featuring a 2018 video of Hinkle speaking to the Christian Broadcasting Network. In the video, Hinkle explains her decision and finding ‘peace’ with it.
‘Don’t you dare say our team is “not a welcoming place for Christians,”‘ Harris said in a follow-up tweet. ‘You weren’t around long enough to know what this team stood for. This is actually an insult to the Christians on our team. Same [sic] on you.’
There are openly religious players on the USWNT, such as Tobin Heath.
It is worth noting, however, Hinkle never says the team was not ‘welcoming’ of her religion. In the video, she simply explains her decision not to accept an invitation to play for the team in two international friendly matches.
Obianuju Ekeocha, a pro-life speaker and founder of Life Africa, made the claim about the USWNT in her tweet from the weekend.
More speak out about the USWNT
Kyle Kriger also hit back at the tweet. Krieger is the brother of USWNT player Ali Krieger, who is engaged to Harris.
‘As someone close to the team, I know this is false,’ he said in response to Ekeocha’s tweet. ‘The players have an inclusive bible study, they pray before and after the WC games, and they are open to whatever faith you follow.’
He then directly addressed Hinkle, saying she ‘hides her bigotry behind her faith’.
The USWNT recently celebrated their 2-0 win over the Netherlands in the Women’s World Cup, securing their fourth title.