As their players battled it out on the court, the Tampa Bay Rays and New York Yankees social media teams teamed up Thursday night to raise awareness of gun violence in the United States.
In the wake of recent mass shootings in Buffalo, New York, and Uvalde, Texas, both teams opted to use their platforms to provide “facts about gun violence in America” instead of providing live commentary on Thursday’s game.
“We all deserve to be safe – in schools, grocery stores, places of worship, our neighborhoods, our homes and America,” the Rays said before the start of Thursday’s game. “The most recent shootings in Buffalo and Uvalde shook us to the core.
“It can’t get normal. We can’t get numb. We can’t look away. We all know that if nothing changes, nothing changes.”
Added the Yankees, who have more 3.6 million Twitter followers“The devastating events that have taken place in Uvalde, Buffalo and countless other communities across our country are intolerable tragedies.”
— Tampa Bay Rays (@RaysBaseball) May 26, 2022
— New York Yankees (@Yankees) May 26, 2022
Throughout the game, teams posted the same facts — along with the attribution of where those facts came from — in concert with each other on their respective Twitter feeds.
MLB team social media accounts are typically used during games to show off video highlights, relay baseball stats, or trade witty jokes with other accounts about the action on the field. On Thursday, that was replaced with posts such as “Guns were the leading cause of death for American children and adolescents in 2020.”
Tampa Bay has also pledged to donate $50,000 to a national gun violence prevention organization. The Rays, who have more than 650,000 subscribersalso changed their Twitter header to an image reading “End Gun Violence”.
The collaboration comes after an 18-year-old gunman killed 19 children and two teachers at Robb Elementary School on Tuesday in Uvalde, Texas. In Buffalo, 10 people were killed on May 14 when an 18-year-old gunman opened fire in a supermarket. The two gunmen were using AR-15 type assault rifles.
“We understand that no organization can solve this crisis alone,” the Rays said, “but by working together, we can have an impact.”
Several notable sports figures — including Golden State Warriors coach Steve Kerr — have used their platforms over the past few days to advocate for action on gun violence.
The Uvalde school shooting was particularly personal for Rays reliever Brooks Raley, who is originally from Uvalde and still has family who live in the town. He attended the school where the shooting took place.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.