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Reimer Talks Reaction to His Pride Jersey Decision, Staals & Trans Community

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Credit: Hockey Shots/Dean Tait

It’s been over a week since James Reimer refused to don a Pride jersey for the San Jose Sharks’ Pride Night.

After that Saturday tilt against the New York Islanders, the Sharks took off to western Canada for a three-game road swing.

Today was the San Jose Sharks’ first practice at home since last weekend’s controversy.

Reimer spoke to San Jose Hockey Now and The Athletic about his stance, talking to the Staal brothers about their refusal to don Pride jerseys for Florida Panthers’ Pride Night, how the San Jose Sharks locker room has handled things, and his thoughts about the trans community.

This interview is lightly edited for clarity.

San Jose Hockey Now: What has the last week been like?

James Reimer: I’m not on social media or anything like that. I don’t really pay attention much to different reports or whatnot, whatever went out there. Obviously, I have a lot of friends and family and close people in the community in my faith have reached out.

SJHN: You mentioned your family, has it been tough on your family? Some people on your side might be paying attention [to social media], right?

JR: I think some people are obviously voicing their opinions and they don’t like what I did, which is 100 percent their right to do and say what 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, right?

But honestly, we haven’t chatted too much about what’s being said out there, especially with my extended family. My close family, my wife, and our kids, we’re just staying close together and living our life.

The Athletic: Have you talked to any of the guys who have done it since like the Staal brothers, or have they reached out?

JR: We talked a little bit the morning of their game. We just texted back and forth a little bit. We’ve had some texts before that as well. There have been some other players in the league as well. There’s been good communication.

The Athletic: Have you thought more at all about people’s opinions who feel that you were wrong? Have you seen or heard some of it, or thought about it at all?

JR: Not a whole lot. It’s not that I don’t care, but it’s not a decision where on that Friday night [before Saturday’s game against the Islanders] I was like, “Oh, this is what I’m going to do.”

It’s something that I thought about for a long time, probably almost a year.

I tried to go to incredible lengths to try and say something as sensitively and decently as possible and try to understand all points. I tried to take all of that into account.

[I’ve] seen a few comments here and there. I don’t want to say that I’ve thought of all [the reaction] before or thought of it leading up to it. I’m not all knowing or have incredible wisdom. But it is something that I put a lot of thought into and tried to be as caring as possible.

The Athletic: How do you think everyone in the locker room has handled it?

JR: I think it’s been good. I think the guys are pretty respectful of everyone’s opinions and beliefs. That’s kind of the case of how it’s been the last couple of years. I think everyone knows who I am and what I’m about. How I act and treat people on a day-to-day basis hasn’t changed from last Friday to whatever day today is. I don’t think it has, but you’d have to ask them. I don’t think anything has changed.

SJHN: The most targeted community is the LGBTQ+ community, recently, has been the trans community. Do you have a thought about them?

JR: I think I would just refer back to my statement on that one. My beliefs in Christ, what I think the Bible says on that stuff.

But people, regardless of their orientation or their activity or whatnot, they have value and worth, I would do my best to love them, the best way I know how. I don’t think there’s a limit per se.

And it might be, I don’t know if it’s hard for people to understand or whatnot. But what I said, especially the last statement, everyone has value and worth. I’ll tell you, I wish people knew that wasn’t just a line I said.

I have a heart for people. It doesn’t matter what you’ve done in the past, what you do, and whatnot. I don’t want to keep [referring to my statement] over and over again, right?

But obviously, I have my beliefs and things that I can’t personally endorse. But man, you love the person, you try and do whatever you can to get to know them or whatnot. That’s what I have to say, I guess.

Special thanks to Corey Masisak for his transcription help.

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