Several Tampa Bay Rays players retire from Pride Night uniforms

Several Tampa Bay Rays players retire from Pride Night uniforms

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A Tampa Bay Rays member says he and several teammates made a ‘faith-based decision’ not to wear rainbow-colored logos on their uniforms during a home game “Pride Night” on Saturday which recognized the LGBTQ community.

Most Rays players, according to in-game accounts, wore the special uniform designs which had a rainbow pattern on the “TB” on their caps and a sunburst logo on their right sleeves. The team, which hosted Pride Night for several seasons but hadn’t included uniform changes before, reportedly gave players the option to show off the logos or opt for the usual look.

Among the Rays who declined rainbow logos, according to the Tampa Bay Times, were pitchers Jason Adam, Jalen Beeks, Brooks Raley, Jeffrey Springs and Ryan Thompson. As Raley and Beeks appeared in the game, a 3-2 loss to the visiting Chicago White Sox, Adam had the opportunity to explain why he and others pulled out.

“A lot of it comes down to faith, loving a faith-based decision,” Adam, 30, said in his fifth major league season. “So it’s a tough call. Because at the end of the day we’ve all said what we want is for them to know that everyone is welcome and loved here. But when we put it on our body, I think a lot of guys decided it was just a lifestyle that maybe – not that they looked down on anybody or thought differently – it’s just that maybe we didn’t want encourage it if we believe in Jesus, who encouraged us to live a lifestyle that would refrain from this behavior, just as [Jesus] encourages me as a heterosexual man to abstain from sex outside the bounds of marriage. It’s no different.

“It’s not a judgement. He’s not looking down,” Adam continued. “It’s just what we believe the lifestyle he encouraged us to live, for our sake, not to hold back. But again, we love these men and women, we care about them. them and we want them to feel safe and welcome here.

The event at Tropicana Field in St. Petersburg was scheduled to take place around the start of Pride month. In a statement last week, President Biden said an “onslaught of dangerous anti-LGBTQI+ laws have been introduced and passed in states across the country.”

The Rays’ home state made headlines earlier this year when Florida Governor Ron DeSantis (right) signed a law some call the ‘Don’t Say Gay’ Act. Parents “should be protected from schools using classroom instruction to sexualize their children as young as age 5,” DeSantis said in a statement.

Critics said the Parental Rights in Education Bill, which bans discussion of LGBTQ issues in K-3 classrooms and includes restrictions for older students, has language intentionally vague intended to marginalize, stigmatize and silence LGBTQ people.

Rays center back Kevin Kiermaier, who would have worn the rainbow-accented uniform on Saturday, said after that game that the Pride Night event “shows that we want everyone to feel welcome and included when you come to Tropicana Field.”

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“My parents taught me to love everyone as they are,” Kiermaier, 32, said (via mlb.com). “Go live your life. Whatever your preferences, be yourself.

Rays manager Kevin Cash said on Saturday that he “certainly” hopes the internal division did not emerge from a discussion of LGBTQ issues that had taken place between his players. The manager, in his eighth season with Tampa Bay, said his players have come to respect different perspectives.

“First and foremost, I think the organization has done a really good thing for Pride Nights to support our gay community to get out there and have a great night at the ballpark,” Cash said (via l ‘Associated Press). “Impressed that our players had these conversations and we want to support our players who choose to wear or not wear to the best of our abilities.”

In an online exchange with media personality Keith Olbermann, who disputed Adam’s characterization of the teachings of Jesus, the caster tweeted“I promise you that it was never my intention to put anyone to shame. My greatest desire is to love and live like Jesus every day.

In addition to special uniforms, the Rays marked Pride Night by donating miniature pride flags and donating to a local inclusive health and wellness organization.

The franchise’s previous moves have included becoming, in 2015, one of the first sports teams to sign an amicus brief with the Supreme Court that supported same-sex marriage and honored the victims of the Pulse nightclub shooting in Orlando during its Pride Night in 2016.

“This is an important night for our organization and an opportunity for us to emphasize inclusivity as a whole,” said team president Matt Silverman. “We lived as a community through the Pulse nightclub shoot and understand the importance of nights like this to signal to our fans and our community the open invitation to come and enjoy baseball, and I know that our overall message is inclusiveness.”

The team also recently spoke out on the issue of gun violence. Following the mass shootings in Buffalo and Uvalde, Texas, the Rays released a statement last month saying “we cannot become numb” to such episodes and pledging to donate to a national charity organization. prevention of armed violence.

Several days later, DeSantis vetoed $35 million in a state spending plan that would have been spent on a youth sports complex touted as a possible future spring training site for the Rays. The governor, a supporter of gun rights, later said he does not “support giving taxpayers’ money to professional sports stadiums” and that it is “also inappropriate to subsidize political activism of a private company”.

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