Soccer equality? U.S. women’s team ‘excluded’ Christian star

by WorldTribune Staff, July 11, 2019

Activism among players on the U.S. women’s World Cup championship team is well established. Team captain Megan Rapinoe, who calls herself a “walking protest” against the Trump administration, accused President Donald Trump of “excluding people” in a July 9 interview on CNN.

“Your message is excluding people. You’re excluding me. You’re excluding people that look like me. You’re excluding people of color,” Rapinoe said in a message to the president.

Jaelene Hinkle was a star for the North Carolina Courage as it claimed the 2018 National Women’s Soccer League championship.

Washington Times reporter Valerie Richardson, however, pointed out that it was the U.S. women’s team which excluded a person of color due to her Christian beliefs.

Jaelene Hinkle, a 26-year-old star for the North Carolina Courage professional team, “has been called the top left defender in the U.S. game, but she wasn’t selected for the national team — a decision that may have had more to do with politics than prowess,” Richardson wrote in a July 10 report.

Excluding Hinkle “made the team less diverse, both ideologically and racially,” Richardson noted as Hinkle would have been one of the few black players on the predominantly white team.

Meanwhile, American Spectator columnist Dan Flynn wrote on the uproar over equal pay in soccer, where male players earn more than their female counterparts on national teams.

“Three billion, six-hundred million people watched the men’s World Cup in 2018,” Flynn noted. “This year’s women’s World Cup attracted about a billion viewers. Most articles on the ‘equal pay’ controversy omit this fact and instead compare apples to oranges by including the numbers on viewership in the United States and not the world. Women’s matches also draw fewer fans at the gate, despite the cheaper tickets, than the men do by about 20,000 or so.”

The U.S. Soccer Federation “does not get to decide to pay the American women more than the men because domestically the women’s final drew better than the men’s final,” Flynn wrote. “Americans, of course, watch the women because they win and do not watch in great numbers, at least compared with other nations, for the men’s final because our men do not ever play in it.”

If anything, Flynn noted, “the men — the Frenchmen, the Germans, the Italians, the Brazilians, etc. — stand on more solid ground demanding ‘equal pay.’ The women competing share 22 percent of their tournament’s revenue; the men, just seven percent.”

Flynn continued: “A selective socialism pervades this equal pay argument. The Americans split a $4 million prize. The Netherlands, which competed in as many matches, took home $2.6 million. Do not the Dutch women possess a more compelling argument, at least within the ‘equal pay’ framework, than the American women? If you really want equal pay, why not demand it for all competitors. Surely, the courage of their convictions requires the American women to demand that all the women who compete in the tournament should receive the same compensation. Alas, nobody on the winning end of the paycheck calls for such fidelity to the equal pay argument.”

The real injustice, Flynn wrote, “seems the paltry percentage — seven and 22 percent, respectively — that the men and women receive from overall revenue. NBA players, for instance, receive about 46 percent of the revenue generated by their league. For this reason, all soccer players — men and women — should demand more.”

Richardson’s report noted that Jaelene Hinkle “landed on the LGBT movement’s radar in 2015 for her social media posts the day of the Supreme Court’s decision in Obergefell v. Hodges legalizing gay marriage.”

Hinkle said on Instagram: “This world may change, but Christ and His Word NEVER will. My heart is that as Christians we don’t begin to throw a tantrum over what has been brought into law today, but we become that much more loving.”

Criticism of Hinkle has been fierce. SBNation sportswriter Kim McCauley called her a “vocal homophobe” while acknowledging that “there isn’t a better pure tactical fit available than Hinkle.”

BuzzFeed reporter Molly Hensley-Clancy tweeted, “Let’s take a second to think about how Jaelene Hinkle might have missed out on winning a World Cup bc she is homophobic.”

In the “700 Club” segment, Hinkle acknowledged that she knew the risks when she declined to wear the jersey. “I’m essentially giving up the one dream little girls dream about their entire life. It was very disappointing. And I think that’s where the peace trumps the disappointment, because I knew in my spirit I was doing the right thing. I knew I was being obedient. Just because you’re obedient doesn’t make it easy.”

The Resurgent’s Jay Schwartz praised Hinkle for standing up “for what she believed in without resorting to name-calling and hatred like so many in our culture do today.”

“It’s good for parents to teach their children how to compete,” Schwartz said in a June 2018 post. “It’s even better for parents to teach their children how to stand on principle, even when it costs them their dream. Thank you, Jaelene, for graciously showing us what that looks like.”

In 2017, Hinkle turned down a call-up from the national team for a pair of international friendly matches after learning that the players would wear rainbow-themed jerseys in honor of Gay Pride Month. She said later that the uniform conflicted with her Christian faith.

“I just felt so convicted in my spirit that it wasn’t my job to wear this jersey,” she told “The 700 Club” in a May 2018 interview. “I gave myself three days to just seek and pray and determine what [God] was asking me to do in this situation.”

Hinkle has not played for the national team since. After she was left off the World Cup roster, coach Jill Ellis told reporters that the decision was “solely based on soccer,” an explanation that failed to convince skeptics.

Ellis, who is married to a woman, did call up Hinkle last year for the Tournament of Nations but then cut her and one other player a few days later, “fueling speculation that she was invited only to stave off a religious freedom lawsuit,” Richardson noted.

Conservative pundit Erick Erickson said that Hinkle was “shoved aside” in a sport known for “feminist virtue signaling,” while The Irish Times ran the June 12 headline “Religious clash leaves USA’s best left back an observer of World Cup bid.”

“You do have a very activist team. It’s very much a part of the program,” said John Stonestreet, president of the Colson Center for Christian Worldview in Colorado Springs. “And if we were talking about just any player, it wouldn’t be really clear, but just because of her abilities — Jaelene Hinkle is a heck of a player — it makes it that much more suspect.”

Hinkle was a star for the Courage as it claimed the 2018 National Women’s Soccer League (NWSL) championship.


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