'Be better': Tampa Bay Rays players slammed for not wearing LGBTQ logos citing faith

The Rays reportedly added rainbow-colored logos to their uniforms, caps and on the right sleeve of their shirts


                            'Be better': Tampa Bay Rays players slammed for not wearing LGBTQ logos citing faith
Several Tampa Bay Rays players refused to wear rainbow-colored logos (R) on their uniforms for the team's annual 'Pride Night' (@RaysBaseball/Twitter)
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Several Tampa Bay Rays players refused to wear rainbow-colored logos on their uniforms for the team's annual 'Pride Night' on Saturday, June 4. Saturday's MLB game against the Chicago White Sox marked the franchise's annual 16th Pride Night celebration. The Rays reportedly added rainbow-colored logos to their uniforms, caps and on the right sleeve of their shirts.  

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"Our Pride Nights continue to grow both in terms of visibility and participation," Matt Silverman told the Tampa Bay Times. "By doing this, we extend an invitation not just for this game but for all of our games that the LGBTQ+ community is invited, welcomed and celebrated."

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LGBTQ community members took part in pregame activities organized by the MLB franchise too. Fans were handed out small LGBTQ flags, and pride colors were seen on the field's mount and the stadium's roof. 

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Tampa Bay Rays manager Kevin Cash addressed some of his players' decision to not wear the Pride-themed uniforms. He said he believes the decision will not negatively impact the clubhouse because, over the last few weeks, players have constructively discussed the value of differing perspectives.


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"First and foremost, I think the organization has done a really good thing to have Pride Night's supporting our gay community to come out and have a nice night at the ballpark," Cash said. "Impressed that our players have had those conversions and we want to support our players that choose to wear or choose not to wear to the best of our capabilities."

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Among the people who opted out was reliever Jason Adam. He said that "a lot of it comes down to faith, to like a faith-based decision." "So it's a hard decision," he said. "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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"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," he added. Other players who refused to wear the rainbow logos included pitchers Jalen Beeks, Brooks Raley, Jeffrey Springs and Ryan Thompson. All od them, including Adam, opted to wear the team's standard cap and uniform instead. 

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"Now we've taken 100 steps back!"

The players who refused to wear the uniform have been slammed on social media as insensitive. Some have even called out their decision saying it is an example of homophobia. "Too many sporting environments remain a bastion of heterosexism and homonegativity. The fact things DIDN'T get heated in the clubhouse in the wake of these 5 players taking a homophobic stance shows how widely those views are still accepted. Be better," one user wrote. "As a Catholic, my mom once gave me the best explanation as to why all the LGBTQ+ hate and paranoia was stupid. “I refuse to believe that God would punish someone for whom they loved.” "Imagine if even the smallest gesture of support for marginalized people threatened your belief system," one user wrote.

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"I am beyond disgusted with @RaysBaseball for suggesting that being LGBTQ+ is a choice and a lifestyle. Views like these will make it unsafe for any MLB player or their fans to come out. It’s 2022. Would love to hear other MLB teams & players condemn this!" one user wrote, while another said, "You can't say "people are welcome and loved" and then NOT support them because of your "faith". That's NOT how it works. Period." "Our country was making strides in equality until 2016! Now we've taken 100 steps back! It's tragic!" one user commented.

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