Ashlyn Harris hits back at Jaelene Hinkle for claiming USWNT ‘wasn’t a welcoming place for Christians’: ‘You're homophobic’
Ashlyn Harris, who played an instrumental role in the United States women's national soccer team's (USWNT) World Cup title defense, on Monday accused her former teammate Jaelene Hinkle of homophobia.
Harris's reaction comes after an old interview of Hinkle resurfaced on Twitter in which she claimed the team “wasn’t a welcoming place for Christians”.
“Hinkle, our team is about inclusion. Your religion was never the problem. The problem is your intolerance and you are homophobic,” Harris tweeted. “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 team stands for.”
Hinkle reportedly declined an offer to play for the USWNT in 2017 because she did not want to wear the team’s pride-themed jerseys in support of the LGBTQ movement.
Harris' reaction came after the old interview was shared again by prominent Catholic anti-abortion and anti-gay advocate Obianuju Ekeocha. She tweeted the video, saying she was curious to know what happened to Hinkle and “apparently, the US women’s Football team is not a very welcoming place for Christians.”
However, contrary to Ekeocha's statement the current team has several high profile players like Julie Ertz and Tobin Heath who are outspoken Christians. They can often be seen kneeling in prayer circles before and after each 2019 World Cup contest. Furthermore, there are five openly gay players on the national team, in addition to coach Jill Ellis. There were 40 gay, lesbian, and bisexual women in the 2019 Women's World Cup, including 38 players, a trainer, and a coach.
In comparison, there were only 18 out players in 2015.
“Don’t you dare say our team is ‘not a welcoming place for Christians,’” Harris wrote. “You weren’t around long enough to know what this team stood for. This is actually an insult to the Christians on our team. [Shame] on you.”
Meanwhile, 26-year-old Hinkle currently plays for the North Carolina Courage in the National Women’s Soccer League. Hinkle made eight US appearances between 2015 and 2017 but was cut from the final roster for the 2018 Tournament of Nations.
“I just felt so convicted in my spirit that it wasn’t my job to wear this jersey,” Hinkle was quoted as saying during a 2018 interview with the 700 Club. “I’m essentially giving up the one dream little girls dream about their entire lives. It was very disappointing.
“I knew in my spirit I was doing the right thing. I knew I was being obedient.”