ST. PETERSBURG, Fla. – Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis recently axed a $35 million practice facility for the Tampa Bay Rays from the state.
On Friday, the Republican governor explained that he did so because he disagreed with public funding for pro sports teams, not because the team made an anti-gun message after the massacre in Texas and cut a $50,000 check to Michael Bloomberg’s pro-gun control group.
On Saturday, the team offered another political statement, and this time objections came from the players.
Five Rays players refused to wear the team’s rainbow-colored logo on their uniform, including their caps, as Tampa Bay marked a pro-LGBTQ “Pride Night” against the Chicago White Sox.
The players said they did so to honor their religious faith.
According to Fox News, the players who declined included pitchers Jason Adam, Jalen Beeks, Brooks Raley, Jeffrey Springs, and Ryan Thompson.
Speaking for the group, Adam noted, “A lot of it comes down to faith, to like a faith-based decision. 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.
“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,” Adam added.
Manager Kevin Cash told the media on Sunday that it did not seem to be a major issue in the clubhouse. The Rays, he added, “want to support our players that choose to wear or choose not to wear to the best of our capabilities.”