Daniels is best-known in some circles as the National Women’s Soccer League player who simply refused to have anything to do with Pride and a rainbow. Most recently she refused to play in a match for the Courage when the club decided to wear LGBT-supportive rainbow kits.
When the Courage signed Daniels last year, they got a mountain of pushback from many fans as Daniels had previously expressed anti-LGBT views. At the time, I suggested the community show some grace and embrace what seemed to be a message she was sending about acknowledging the value of people who aren’t like us.
Unfortunately, she continued to assert herself as a beacon for anti-LGBT sentiment and rhetoric. In refusing to simply wear a rainbow jersey, she rejected the Christ-loving message that “All are welcome,” making clear that her anti-LGBT sentiments go far deeper than a few words in the Bible.
The Courage gave her a second chance, and she bit the hand that fed her.
At the time, various fans said they were ending their season tickets. In fact, Courage match attendance was reportedly lower this year, some speculated because of Daniels’ presence on the team.
After the club announced her departure, some said they would now return:
Great!! We'll be very happy to renew our season tickets now.— Andrew Hudgins He / Him (@andrew_hudgins) October 17, 2022
Others said... not so fast...
This isn't directed at the social media team for NC, but at the leadership who first pulled her back onto the squad. There are wounds you need to mend now. Just declining a team option isn't enough. Your work isn't over.— Kraken the Book Witch ♀️ (@VictoriaNoir89) October 17, 2022
When Daniels was signed by the Courage, I was contacted by various women’s soccer fans who said that anyone harboring any anti-LGBT feelings whatsoever have no place in women’s soccer. It wasn’t just about actions — even anti-LGBT thoughts needed to be pushed out of the sport. They told me that the sport was creating a different kind of environment, and anyone holding or expressing any different views simply don’t belong in the sport.
That perspective has now passed its latest test, with Daniels sent packing. Previously it has upended the career of Sydny Nasello, the Portland Thorns draftee who was let go after fans discovered she had retweeted someone else’s tweet saying trans women don’t belong in the female sports category.
Nasello has (at least for now) seemingly been banned from the NWSL for the retweet, so it’s hard to see Daniels latching onto another team in the league. Nasello has found a home in Spain’s Liga F.
Daniels’ next move — if she wants to continue to play soccer — may need to be overseas as well. Though her anti-LGBT actions will be a lot harder to explain away than Nasello’s.