James Reimer didn’t give much thought to other opinions, reiterates Pride Night’s faith-based stance
Sharks goalie James Reimer, speaking at length for the first time about his decision not to take part in the team’s Pride party activities last week, said he hadn’t “given much thought” about the others’ opinion of her choice because “it’s something I thought about for a long time” – reiterating that her stance was due to her religious beliefs.
Reimer’s decision not to wear a Pride jersey and skip warm-ups in the Sharks’ final home game has become one of hockey’s biggest stories.
With the Sharks on the road since last week, other players and teams have made similar decisions. Reimer is no longer the only non-Russian player to refuse to wear a Pride jersey because of his religious beliefs – Eric and Marc Staal of the Florida Panthers did the same last Thursday.
Despite praise from the Sharks organization for allowing other players to make the decision to wear the jerseys without Reimer, the Chicago Blackhawks decided not to wear them at all, citing safety concerns for their Russian player, Nikita Zaitsev.
Reimer was back in San Jose on Monday for the first practice at Sharks Ice since Pride night. The Sharks will play Tuesday night at the SAP Center against the Winnipeg Jets. Coach David Quinn said Reimer will start in goal for the Sharks.
Reimer spoke with Athleticism and San Jose Hockey Now after practice:
How was last week?
I’m not on social media or anything like that. I don’t really pay attention to the different reports or whatever, anything that’s come out. Obviously, I have many friends and family members and people close to my community in my faith have reached out to me.
You mentioned your family, was it hard on your family? Some people on your side may be paying attention, aren’t they?
I think some people obviously voice their opinions and they don’t like what I did, which is 100% their right to do and say whatever they want. Yeah, I’m sure some of my family… you never like to hear people say things you don’t believe against someone you love, do you? But, honestly, we haven’t talked too much about what’s being said there, especially with my extended family. My immediate family, my wife and my children, we just stay close to each other and live our lives.
Have you spoken to any of the guys who have since, like the Staal brothers, or have they reached out?
We talked a bit the morning of their game. We just texted each other. We also had texts before that. There have also been other players in the league. There was good communication.
Have you given more thought to the opinions of people who think you were wrong? Did you see or hear any of it, or think about it?
Not a lot. 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 I’ve been thinking about for a long time, probably almost a year. I tried to put in incredible effort to try to say something in the most sensitive and decent way possible and try to understand all the points. I tried to take all of that into account.
I saw a few comments here and there. I don’t mean that I thought of everything (the reaction) before or that I thought about it before. I don’t know everything or have incredible wisdom. But it’s something I thought about a lot and tried to be as considerate as possible.
How do you think everyone in the dressing room handled it?
I think it’s been good. I think the guys are pretty respectful of each other’s opinions and beliefs. It’s kind of like the way it’s been for the past two years. I think everyone knows who I am and what I’m talking about. The way I act and treat people on a daily basis has not changed from last Friday until today. I don’t think that’s the case, but you’d have to ask them. I don’t think anything has changed.
One group in the LGBTQIA+ community that has been most targeted is transgender people. What do you think of transgender people?
I think I would just refer to my statement on that. My beliefs in Christ, what I think the Bible says about it. But people, whatever their orientation or their activity or whatever, they have value and value, I would do my best to love them, in the best way I know how. I don’t think there is a limit per se. And that’s maybe, I don’t know if it’s hard for people to understand or whatever.
But what I said, especially the last statement, everyone has value and value. I’ll tell you, I wish people knew that wasn’t just a sentence I said. I have a heart for people. It doesn’t matter what you’ve done in the past, what you’re doing and so on. I don’t want to keep (referring to my statement) over and over, do I? But of course, I have my beliefs and things that I cannot personally approve of. But man, you like the person, you try to do everything you can to get to know them or whatever. That’s what I have to say, I guess.
(Photo: Ron Chenoy/USA Today)