Five Tampa Rays baseball players are catching heat for refusing to wear LGBT+ logos on their uniforms to celebrate Gay Pride Month.
The Tampa Bay Rays wore rainbow logos on their uniform sleeves and ball caps during the MLB’s annual “Pride Night” celebration at Tropicana Field for Pride Month.
— Tampa Bay Rays (@RaysBaseball) June 4, 2022
However, five Rays players chose to remove the rainbow logos from their uniforms before taking the field on Sunday.
The five baseball players are Jason Adam, Jalen Beeks, Brooks Raley, Jeffrey Springs and Ryan Thompson.
Players of MLB's Tampa Bay Rays are refusing to wear pride-colored jerseys on account of faith.https://t.co/m8x5VcWiD0
— The Post Millennial (@TPostMillennial) June 7, 2022
Jason Adam was chosen to speak for the five players. He told the Tampa BayTimes that the decision to remove the logos was “faith-based”.
“A lot of it comes down to faith, to like a faith-based decision,” he said.
Adam said the Pride logo represented a “lifestyle” that conflicted with their religion, but gays are always welcome at Tropicana Field.
“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,” Adam said.
“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,” he said.
But Tampa Pride president Carrie West blasted the five players who removed the Pride logo from their uniforms. West said they were “hiding behind their religion” and had “shamed” the club’s efforts to support the LGBT+ community.
“The fact that Tampa Bay Rays have a Pride Night is because they have a very high LGBTAQ fan base,” West said in a statement to The Independent on Monday. “The Tropicana Field is right in the heart of the St Petersburg Gay Community with gay bars, businesses, restaurants, and retail all around the stadium.”
“It just so happens that the LGBTAQ community is a very large fan base in following your franchise and we are honored and celebrate this one night during PRIDE Month,” West said.
“To not say Thank You and get snubbed from the five players for Your Support and getting the $$$ for top salary dollars is truly a SHAME to be reckoned with! DO NOT HIDE BEHIND RELIGION! YOU HAVE ALREADY SHOWN YOUR COLORS.”
5 Tampa Bay Rays players removed the rainbow patch placed on their uniforms for Pride Month because of their religious beliefs. It can't be because they are Christian because Jesus loved everybody. So essentially they are telling their LGBTQ fans that they don't count.
— Henry M. Rosenberg (@DoctorHenryCT) June 7, 2022
“Lifestyle.Maybe bring in experts to illuminate your players because some of them are ignorant and uneducated on this topic. No one chooses to be LGBTQ…it’s who people are. Ripping off the patch is a perfect example of the marginalization and dehumanization of this community.
— David Semel (@DavidSemel) June 7, 2022
I'm glad some Tampa Bay Rays players refused to wear the LGBT… patches. Political activism of any kind doesn't belong in sports. I watch baseball as a break from this kind of stuff and I have no problem turning it off either.
— Bret ? (@Bret_Sears) June 6, 2022
Tampa Bay Rays Pitchers Jason Adam, Jalen Beeks, Brooks Raley, Jeffrey Springs, and Ryan Thompson all took a stand.
During their Pride Night celebration, they ditched the jerseys featuring rainbows, citing their faith.
I stand with these players and their right to free speech!
— Nick Adams (@NickAdamsinUSA) June 5, 2022