Monday, July 4, 2022

Five Tampa Bay Rays players decline to wear LGBTQ+ logo on uniform during Pride Night celebration

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At least five players on the Tampa Bay Rays roster opted not to wear a patch the team added to their uniforms intended to celebrate Pride month in Saturday’s 3-2 loss to the Chicago White Sox (box score). During the team’s 16th annual Pride Night celebration Rays caps and uniforms had logos colored in the style of the modern LGBTQ+ pride flag, but not everyone in the clubhouse chose to participate. 

First, a look at the changes that Tampa Bay made to the uniforms for Saturday’s game:

Pitchers Jason Adam, Jalen Beeks, Brooks Raley, Jeffrey Springs and Ryan Thompson were among the players who did not wear the patch on their uniforms and chose to wear the team’s standard caps for the June 4 home game.

Adam was selected by the organization to speak on behalf of the players who opted out, and called it a “faith-based decision” and that the decision wasn’t “judgmental,” per the Times:

“So it’s a hard decision. Because ultimately we all said what we want is them to know that all are welcome and loved here. But when we put it on our bodies, I think a lot of guys decided that it’s just a lifestyle that maybe — not that they look down on anybody or think differently — it’s just that maybe we don’t want to encourage it if we believe in Jesus, who’s encouraged us to live a lifestyle that would abstain from that behavior, just like [Jesus] encourages me as a heterosexual male to abstain from sex outside of the confines of marriage. It’s no different.”  

Manager Kevin Cash said the players’ decision not to wear the pride caps and patches — which the team described as something players could choose to opt-in to — didn’t create any division in the clubhouse. “I think what it has created is, like, what you’ve heard — a lot of conversation and valuing the different perspectives inside the clubhouse but really appreciating the community that we’re trying to support here,” Cash said.

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