A number of Tampa Bay Rays baseball players on Saturday refused to don a rainbow-colored patch in observance of Pride Week, citing religious objections.
Jason Adam, Jalen Beeks, Brooks Raley, Jeffrey Springs, and Ryan Thompson said they accept everyone but refused to wear the new uniforms.
“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,” said Adam.
“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,” he added.
“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,” he 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,” Adam continued.
“But again, we love these men and women, we care about them, and we want them to feel safe and welcome here,” he said.
Manager Kevin Cash said the players’ decision had sparked some conversation in the clubhouse, but it doesn’t sound like things have gotten heated … and that the team understands.
“Hard to argue against players wanting freedom to express themselves based on their religious backgrounds,” writes Gary Sheffield Jr. at Outkick.com.
“Major League Baseball, and most other major networks, have done everything they can do make people appear anti-gay for failing to celebrate gay pride, but these five are doing well standing up for themselves,” he added.
“It should be understood that we all don’t have to agree on each other’s life decisions/sexual orientations because we can mind our own business. Some people just want to make decisions that best suit them and let others do their thing. That’s how life was before social media and many would like that way of life to continue,” Sheffield continued, noting further:
Rays manager Kevin Cash spoke to the media and admitted the player’s reluctance to wear their pride patches stirred conversation in the locker room and not once did he mention a heated discussion. Maybe this is how life should work? We aren’t all bullied to share black squares or flag patches to be viewed as quality human beings. We have nuanced discussions like adults that lead to a more healthy environment.
Good for these guys, man. Standing up for their faith.
“Regardless of your personal beliefs, refusing to wear these uniforms — and being willing to take the inevitable sports media crushing they will get — is far braver than meekly acquiescing,” said Outkick’s Clay Travis.
Regardless of your personal beliefs, refusing to wear these uniforms — and being willing to take the inevitable sports media crushing they will get — is far braver than meekly acquiescing. https://t.co/1pQocF22On
— Clay Travis (@ClayTravis) June 6, 2022