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January 26, 2023
Several Tampa Bay Rays players decided not to wear rainbow-colored logos on their uniforms as part of the team’s annual “Pride Night” on Saturday that recognized the LGBTQ community.
Pitchers Jason Adam, Jalen Beeks, Brooks Raley, Jeffrey Springs and Ryan Thompson did not agree to wear the pride colors, and instead appeared in Tampa’s typical home uniform.
“Our Pride Nights continue to grow both in terms of visibility and participation,” Rays president Matt Silverman told the Tampa Bay Times. “By doing this, we extend an invitation not just for this game but for all of our games that the LGBTQ+ community is invited, welcomed and celebrated.”
Members of the LGBTQ community also took part in pregame activities organized by the MLB franchise. Mini LGBTQ flags were additionally given out to fans, while the field’s mount and the stadium’s roof both displayed pride colors.
Tampa Bay Rays manager Kevin Cash addressed it after Sunday’s game, saying he doesn’t think it’ll negatively impact the clubhouse because discussions among the players over past few weeks were constructive and emphasized the value of differing perspectives.
Adam said “a lot of it comes down to faith, to like a faith-based decision,” adding: “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,” Adam said.
“It’s not judgmental. It’s not looking down. It’s just what we believe the lifestyle he’s encouraged us to live, for our good, not to withhold. But again, we love these men and women, we care about them, and we want them to feel safe and welcome here,” he concluded.
Thompson also defended the group’s decision, telling WFLA, an NBC affiliate in Tampa, Florida, that the team is “completely unified” in its “love for the LGBTQ+ community.”
“I cast no judgment. I cast no condemnation. I only feel called to share my faith, which is the most important thing in my life,” he said. “I respect everyone’s free will to live their lives however they choose and can promise to treat nobody any different based upon their lifestyle.”
ARTICLE: PAUL MURDOCH
MANAGING EDITOR: CARSON CHOATE
PHOTO CREDITS: TAMPA CBS LOCAL