As America’s major pro sports leagues continue to lean heavily into “LGBTQ Pride” during the month of June, a handful of Tampa Bay Rays players have refused to participate. During their Saturday game against the Chicago White Sox, the team’s jersey contained its normal emblem on the left sleeve. Instead of the team’s normal gold-colored emblem, the emblem featured the colors of the “new” pride flag, which includes rainbow colors, plus black and brown to pay homage to BLM, and light blue and purple to pay homage to the transgender movement. The ‘TB’ logo on the players’ ball caps also contained this color scheme.
— Tampa Bay Rays (@RaysBaseball) June 4, 2022
According to a report in the Tampa Bay Times, at least five players opted for their normal, everyday logos. Relief pitcher Jason Adam was chosen by the group to speak for Rays players who refused the pride logos.
Adam called his decision to opt out of the pride logo “faith-based” in a statement to reporters.
“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” Adam added.
Various people associated with the ball club were interviewed about their thoughts on the pride celebration. Multiple people said that the topic did not create any division among the players and team officials.
“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,” Rays Manager Kevin Cash said in a statement.
The Tampa Bay Rays have not been strangers to political activism in recent years. Most recently, they have come under fire for their pro-gun control statements and large donation to a pro-gun control group. Florida Governor Ron DeSantis recently vetoed the team’s funding request to build a $35-million dollar training facility, citing anti-freedom rhetoric and donation to a group calling for laws that infringe on the Second Amendment.
In the past decade, the team has supported “racial equality” initiatives, gun control, and even lobbied the Supreme Court to support same-sex marriage. The Rays were the first sports franchise to sign an amicus brief in an effort to overturn the law that prohibited same-sex marriage.