The North Carolina Courage has issued an apology to fans after announcing the signing of defender Jaelene Daniels, a player with a significant public history of homophobia.
The Courage revealed the agreement on Sunday and reported that both parties agreed to the terms of a one-year agreement. Daniels has been a starter for Courage for a long time, winning three NWSL championships with the club while being considered one of the league’s most talented defenders before retiring in 2020.
Her talents in the field eventually inspired USWNT to call Daniels, an opportunity she declined. At the time, she used “personal reasons” to explain her fuss to the national team but later went on to reveal her true motives when she appeared on a Christian TV show.
Daniels admitted that she had withdrawn from the USWNT camp because of her religious reluctance to wear an LGBTQ + pride shirt.
She took things further and tweeted “this world is falling further and further away from God” after the legalization of same-sex marriage in the United States.
The club has since apologized in a formal statement.
“In response to the latest news about signing Jaelene Daniels, we as a club recognize the impact this announcement has on our community,” the North Carolina Courage said in an unsigned open letter to fans.
“We have spent the last few days reading your messages and reflecting on our actions. We are very sorry for all those we have harmed, especially those in the LGBTQIA + community.
“The decision to re-sign Jaelene was not taken lightly and included important conversations between the organization’s management and Jaelene. The priority expressed in these talks is the safety of our players and maintaining an inclusive, respectful space for the entire team.”
But the apology was not enough because fans have continued to express their contempt.
After a controversial season filled with sexual harassment and allegations of abuse, the NWSL and North Carolina Courage promised to make the league a safer and more welcoming place for their players, a promise that fans feel was broken by the signing.
NC Courage has not changed the decision to recruit Daniels as she appears on the list for the 2022 season.
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