US Soccer Star Calls Out 'Homophobic' Fellow Player

'Your religion was never the problem,' Ashlyn Harris tells Jaelene Hinkle
By Rob Quinn,  Newser Staff
Posted Jul 16, 2019 1:29 AM CDT
US Soccer Star Calls Out 'Homophobic' Fellow Player
In this Dec. 13, 2015 photo, China's Han Peng (18) slides in to knock the ball away from United States' Jaelene Hinkle during the second half of an international friendly soccer match, in Glendale, Ariz.   (AP Photo/Ralph Freso, File)

Jaelene Hinkle missed out on World Cup glory after dropping out of the US women's team—a decision the left back later admitted was because she didn't want to wear a jersey designed to honor the LGBT community. Goalkeeper Ashlyn Harris slammed Hinkle as homophobic and intolerant Monday after video of her explaining the decision last year resurfaced on Twitter, NBC reports. "I just felt so convicted in my spirit that it wasn't my job to wear this jersey," Hinkle said in the clip shared by activist Obianuju Ekeocha, who said the US women's team is "not a welcoming place for Christians." In the clip, Hinkle said she was "giving up the one dream little girls dream about their entire life." In a tweet Monday, Harris said: "Hinkle, our team is about inclusion. 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," Harris said. "You would never fit into our pack or what this team stands for." Harris, one of several openly lesbian players on the team, is engaged to teammate Ali Krieger. The team includes several players who share their Christian faith and take part in "prayer huddles" and Bible study groups, the Washington Post reports. "These Bible studies really help me grow and keep me accountable," midfielder Julie Ertz said in an interview before the World Cup. "It brings me closer to my teammates; we continue to grow as players and persons." In another tweet Monday, Harris said describing the team as "not a welcoming place for Christians" is "actually an insult to the Christians on our team." (More US women's soccer stories.)

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