Several Tampa Bay Rays players opted out of wearing rainbow-colored logos representing the LGBTQ community on their uniforms because it went against their religious beliefs.
Five of the team’s pitchers – Jason Adam, Jalen Beeks, Brooks Raley, Jeffrey Springs, and Ryan Thompson – refused to wear the uniforms that were modified for the team’s annual “Pride Night” game on Saturday.
The LGBTQ themed adaptations included a rainbow colored Ray’s logo patch on jersey sleeves, and a navy blue cap that featured a rainbow “TB.”
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Adam served as the spokesperson for the group of players who chose to wear their standard uniforms during the game, said their decision to not participate was rooted in their religious beliefs.
“A lot of it comes down to faith, to like a faith-based decision,” Adam said. “So it’s a hard decision.”
He noted that ultimately they wanted the LGBTQ fans to know that they were welcomed and loved in the stadium, but the players did not want to “encourage.”
“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,” he continued.
Adam added that Jesus encouraged them to “live a lifestyle that would abstain from that behavior,” and “it’s no different” than the religious guidance that encouraged him to abstain from cheating on his wife.
“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,” he concluded. “But again, we love these men and women, we care about them, and we want them to feel safe and welcome here.”
Tampa Bay Rays manager Kevin Cash said the players’ choice to wear standard uniforms during “Pride Night” didn’t affect the team’s morale.
“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,” he said on Sunday. “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.”