NC Courage’s Jaylene Daniels, who declined to play for the US national team because she was wearing a gay pride jersey, will not play in Friday night’s Pride Night game.
The Courage hosts the Washington Spirit on Friday evening at 7:30 p.m. The Courage plays the Women’s National Football League Championship. The team site currently features a rainbow theme. Pride month is June. The Pride Night match originally scheduled for The Courage has been postponed due to COVID protocols.
“Gillen will not be included in tonight’s roster because she made the decision not to wear our Pride shirt. While we are disappointed with her choice, we respect her right to make that decision herself. We are excited to celebrate with the LGBTQIA+ community with a statement to WRAL,” a team spokesperson said in a statement provided to WRAL. In response to an inquiry about Daniels’ placement in the game, our fans, players and staff are tonight, and we look forward to hosting our first-ever Pride Festival before kick-off.
Daniels, who plays in defense, signed with Courage in the off-season, much to the chagrin of some of the team’s supporters at the time.
“I remain committed to my faith and desire for people to know that my love for them is not based on their belief system or their sexuality,” Daniels wrote in a statement issued after her signing. “I pray and firmly believe that my teammates know how much I cherish them, and I respect and love them.”
Daniels, 29, played with courage in 2017, 2018 and 2019, starting 64 games and helping the team win back-to-back NWSL Championships in 2018 and 2019. She retired from professional football in 2020, but returned to bravery in 2021 after the birth of her child . She appeared in three national team qualifiers in 2016 after an all-American collegiate sponsorship at Texas Tech.
In a statement released in December to fans, the team apologized for hiring Daniels.
“In response to the recent news of Jaylene Daniels’ re-signing, we as a club acknowledge the impact this announcement has had on our community. We’ve spent the past few days reading your messages and reflecting on our actions. We are deeply sorry for all those we’ve hurt, especially those in the LGBTQIA+ community.
“The decision to re-sign Jaelene was not taken lightly and involved important conversations between the organization’s leadership and Jaelene. The priority expressed in those conversations is the safety of our players and maintaining an inclusive and respectful space for the entire team.”
Editor’s Note: The Capitol Broadcasting Company has a non-voting membership interest of less than 5% and no position on the board of directors at NCWFC, LLC (which owns and operates North Carolina Courage).