Christian conservative Franklin Graham
has criticized Ashlyn Harris of the U.S. Women's National Soccer Team
(USWNT) for calling former teammate Jaelene Hinkle homophobic for
refusing to wear a Pride jersey in 2017.
Hinkle, 26, withdrew from playing in
two international friendlies games over the team's decision to wear
Pride jerseys with rainbow-colored numbers in support of the LGBT
In a recently resurfaced interview from
2018 with The 700 Club, Hinkle explained her decision.
“I just felt so convicted in my
spirit that it wasn't my job to wear this jersey,” Hinkle said at
the time. “And I gave myself three days to just seek and pray and
determine what he was asking me to do in this situation. … I'm
essentially giving up the one dream little girls dream about their
entire life, and I'm saying no to it. It was very disappointing.”
Harris, who earlier this year announced
her engagement to long-time partner and teammate Ali Krieger,
responded on Twitter.
“Hinkle, our team is about
inclusion,” Harris wrote. “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. You
would never fit into our pack or what this teams stands for.”
Krieger's brother, Kyle Krieger, said
on Twitter that the team has “an inclusive bible study” that
prays before and after each game. “Not all Christians are bigots,”
he wrote. “Hinkle, on the other hand, hides her bigotry behind her
Graham, son of the late televangelist
Billy Graham and a supporter of President Donald Trump, chided Harris
in a Facebook post.
“Ashlyn Harris needs to understand
that believing the Word of God doesn't mean that you're homophobic,”
he wrote. “It means you're truthful. Jaelene chose her faith above
fame, above soccer, and above her peers.”
Hinkle plays for the North Carolina