U.S. women’s national soccer team goalkeeper Ashlyn Harris pushed back on claims made by former Texas Tech star Jaelene Hinkle, who said she was unwelcome on the team because she is a Christian.
“Your religion was never the problem,” said Harris in a tweet on Monday. “The problem is your intolerance and you are homophobic. You don’t belong in a sport that aims to unite and bring people together.”
Harris was responding to a viral tweet featuring a 2018 video of Hinkle talking to the Christian Broadcasting Network. In the video, the current North Carolina Courage defender talked about how she was invited to join the USWNT, but withdrew after learning she would have to wear a jersey featuring rainbow lettering in support of the LGBTQ community during Pride month.
“I just felt so convicted in my spirit that it wasn’t my job to wear this jersey,” Hinkle says in the video. “I gave myself three days to just seek and pray and determine what [God] was asking me to do in this situation.” The narrator explains that Hinkle withdrew from the national team with the support of her teammates.
“It was very disappointing. I think that’s where the peace trumps the disappointment, because I knew in my spirit that I was doing the right thing,” Hinkle adds. “I knew that I was being obedient and just because you’re obedient doesn’t make it easy.”
Several members of the USWNT are openly part of the LGBTQ community, including Harris (who is engaged to teammate Ali Krieger) and co-captain Megan Rapinoe.
Harris followed up on her initial tweet, noting there are Christians currently on the team.
“Don’t you dare say our team is ‘not a welcoming place for Christians’. You weren’t around long enough to know what this team stood for. This is actually an insult to the Christians on our team,” she wrote.
Krieger’s brother, Kyle, also responded to the video of Hinkle, saying that the team has “an inclusive bible study,” prays “before and after the WC games,” and is “open to whatever faith you follow.”