The Tampa Bay Rays 16th “Pride Night” was held Saturday, the Florida club’s annual show of support of the LGBTQ+ community.
Most Major League Baseball teams acknowledge Pride Month in some way, with the Minnesota Twins and Toronto Blue Jays including drag queens as part of their celebrations.
Tampa Bay was more muted, simply having its players wear rainbow logos on caps and sleeves for its game against the Chicago White Sox. However, several players opted out of participation, citing religious reasons.
The Tampa Bay Times reported that pitchers Jason Adam, Jalen Beeks, Brooks Raley, Jeffrey Springs, and Ryan Thompson were among those who didn’t wear the logos of support.
Adam made a statement on behalf of the players who opted out and cited religious beliefs for the decision not to wear the colors.
“A lot of it comes down to faith, to like a faith-based decision,” Adam said to the Tampa Bay 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.
“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.”
The Rays had requested full participation from its playes, but gave them a choice..
Outfielder Kevin Kiermaier felt differently than his teammates..He told the Tampa Bay Times he wanted everyone who visits the team’s Tropicana Field to watch the team play to “feel welcomed and included and cheer us on.”
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