Definitely not a grand slam...
In a gesture to celebrate Pride Month, the Tampa Bay Rays baseball team held a so-called “Pride Night” where various players wore special-edition jerseys containing a rainbow-colored version of the team’s logo. However, several players took issue with the move and refused to wear the jerseys and hats that contained the rainbow-colored logo.
Tampa Bay Rays players who refused to wear the rainbow-themed clothing in support of the LGBTQ+ community include Jason Adam, Brooks Raley, Jalen Beeks, Jeffrey Springs, and Ryan Thompson.
Adam told the Tampa Bay Times:
“A lot of it comes down to faith, to like a faith-based decision. 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.”
Officials for the Tampa Bay Rays expressed that participating in this Pride celebration was not mandatory, making it clear that each player had the choice to opt in or out of it. Nonetheless, management attempted to keep things light and put a positive spin on these players’ choice to not wear Pride-themed jerseys.
Tampa Bay Rays manager Kevin Cash explained:
“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.”
On the other hand, these actions sparked a big debate on social media from right-wingers – who felt like the team was pushing a “gay agenda” – and others who saw this as a clearly homophobic decision from these players.