The National Women’s Soccer League (NWSL) apologized to both Jill Ellis and Megan Rapinoe over the NWSL response team asking them about their political views. The two were among a group of players who protested during the national anthem at an October match in Orlando against North Carolina, drawing criticism from President Donald Trump as well.

The “sincere apology” was released by North West Stars, the ownership of the North Western Stars. The team has apologized for their actions and have promised to work on bettering themselves in the future.

NWSL's Courage sorry over re

Jaelene Daniels turned down a call-up to the USWNT due of rainbow-themed LGBT pride shirts. Getty Images/Randy Litzinger/Icon Sportswire

The North Carolina Courage have apologized to fans who were offended by the recent signing of Jaelene Daniels, the player who made headlines after denying a call-up to the United States women’s national team because of her rainbow-themed LGBT pride shirts.

The Courage announced on Sunday that Daniels, who resigned last year after seven seasons in the National Women’s Soccer League, had been re-hired. However, given of Daniels’ prior hostility to LGBT rights, several fans were quick to condemn the decision.

Daniels, who formerly went by the name Hinkle, made news in 2017 when she turned down a call-up to the USWNT because she refused to wear a rainbow-themed jersey in honor of LGBT pride month. Every member of the USWNT wore the jerseys, which were eventually auctioned off to help a homosexual rights organization.

“In light of the recent news of Jaelene Daniels’ re-signing, we as a club recognize the effect this announcement has on our community,” the North Carolina Courage said in an unsigned open letter to supporters on Wednesday. “We’ve been reading your notes and meditating on our conduct over the last several days. We apologize to everyone we have offended, particularly those in the LGBTQIA+ community.

“The decision to re-sign Jaelene was not taken lightly, and it included extensive discussions between Jaelene and the organization’s leadership. The safety of our players and the maintenance of an inclusive, respectful environment for the whole squad are the top priorities highlighted in those meetings.”

The Courage did not say if they would explore bringing Daniels back for the 2022 season, but they did say they had “a positive dialogue about the standards we have established for our whole team,” which include “respect and inclusivity without reservation.” According to the statement, the club would continue to hold pride evenings, cooperate on projects to assist the homosexual community, and “outfit players in custom-made Pride jerseys.”

On Wednesday night, Daniels sent her own letter, saying that her affection for her Courage colleagues “has never been dependent on their identification.”

“I am devoted to my religion, and I want people to know that my affection for them isn’t predicated on their religious system or sexuality,” she said in a statement released shortly after the Courage’s. “I hope and think that my colleagues are aware of how much I value, respect, and love them.”

Daniels turned down a call-up to the USWNT in 2017 due to “personal issues,” according to the USSF. She then clarified on “The 700 Club,” a Christian talk program, that she was opposed to the rainbow-themed jersey.

She claimed at the time, “I simply felt so convicted in my soul that it wasn’t my responsibility to wear this jersey.” “I set aside three days to really search and pray and figure out what [God] wanted me to do in this scenario.” It wasn’t the first time Daniels stepped out in support of gay rights; in 2015, just after gay marriage became legal throughout the United States, she spoke out against the Supreme Court’s decision.

Daniels, a left back, was recalled to the USWNT following the July 2018 scandal. Coach Jill Ellis stated she made the preliminary roster for the Tournament of Nations but was dropped from the final team because of the “experience, depth, and adaptability” of the other players on the roster.

Daniels stated she was “basically giving up the one thing young girls dream about their whole lives” by declining the 2017 call-up, which drew criticism from members of the USWNT.

After Daniels’ tale went viral during the Women’s World Cup in 2019, USWNT goalkeeper Ashlyn Harris stated, “Your faith was never the issue.” “Your intolerance is the issue, and you are homophobic. You have no place in a sport that attempts to bring people together.”

“Do not claim that our team is “not a Christian-friendly environment.” You hadn’t been around long enough to understand what this group stood for “Harris went on to say. “This is really an insult to our team’s Christians.”

Daniels spent four seasons at North Carolina, where she was coached by Paul Riley, who remained with her despite the reaction after her comments on television. Riley was sacked in September amid public claims of sexual misconduct from two former players, and he was replaced by Sean Nahas.

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