The Tampa Bay Rays hopes for a new $35 practice facility were dashed by Governor Ron DeSantis when he blocked the proposal, after the team posted a pro-gun control message in the wake of the Uvlade, Texas elementary school shooting.
DeSantis vetoed $3.1 billion in spending from the state budget on Thursday, which included the funds to construct the Rays’ spring training facility, which would have doubled as a youth sporting complex.
Conservative commentator Clay Travis of sports website Outkick, alleged that the move was retaliation for a May 26 tweet the team sent out ahead of their game against the New York Yankees.
“We all deserve to be safe – in schools, grocery stores, places of worship, our neighborhoods, houses and America,” the team wrote in a statement. “The most recent mass shootings in Buffalo and Uvalde have shaken us to the core. The Tampa Bay Rays are mourning these heartbreaking tragedies that took the lives of innocent children and adults”
“This cannot become normal,” they continued. “We cannot become numb. We cannot look the other way. We all know, if nothing changes, nothing changes.”
The Rays announced that they stand “committed to actionable change” and had made a $50,000 donation to Everytown, the largest gun violence prevention organization in the country.
“We understand that no single organization can solve this crisis alone, but working together we can make an impact,” the statement concluded.
— Tampa Bay Rays (@RaysBaseball) May 26, 2022
Travis said that “DeSantis is giving a voice to the people who do not want their sports and children’s companies on the front lines of the cultural divide,” but claimed Florida residents had called for the governor to veto the funds prior to the tweet, because they did not want their taxpayer dollars going towards a facility for a professional sports team.
DeSantis isn’t shy about going after businesses that go against his vision for how the state should be run. In April, he yanked Disney’s self-governance and tax breaks, when the House of Mouse raged against the Florida law that prevents sexuality and gender ideology from being taught in schools to young children.