September 28, 2022
A decision made by several Tampa Bay Rays players not to wear rainbow-colored logos on their uniforms over the weekend sparked debate online, both in support and in disapproval of the players.

A decision made by several Tampa Bay Rays players not to wear rainbow-colored logos on their uniforms over the weekend sparked debate online, both in support and in disapproval of the players.

Current and former baseball players have spoken out against the five players who chose not to don the logo, with St. Louis Cardinals pitcher Jack Flaherty calling their decision an “absolute joke.”

“There is a special ignorance in sports on this topic,” Preston Wilson, a former Major League Baseball player, wrote on social media. “Every person in MLB has at some point played with a homosexual teammate. They have all cheered for their success on the field. They have all felt their pain when they struggled. They just didn’t know that player was LGBTQ.”

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Not everyone spoke out against the players for choosing not to wear the rainbow attire. Clay Travis, the founder of sports media company OutKick, called their decision “far braver than meekly acquiescing.”

The group of players, which included pitchers Jason Adam, Jalen Beeks, Brooks Raley, Jeffrey Springs, and Ryan Thompson, opted to peel off the rainbow logo and wear the standard Rays hats for the team’s 16th annual Pride Night celebration on Saturday. Adam was chosen by team officials to speak for the players who did not want to wear the Pride-themed items.

“A lot of it comes down to faith, to like a faith-based decision,” Adam said. “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.”

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The team’s manager, Kevin Cash, has dismissed concerns the players’ camaraderie would be affected by the matter.

The Tampa Bay Rays had posted several Pride-related social media posts on Saturday, including posts that read “baseball is for everyone” and showed images of the Pride-themed uniforms to be worn by the players that night.

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