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MLB Players Refused To Wear Pride Logo On Uniforms

MLB Players Refused To Wear Pride Logo On Uniforms

Players from the Tampa Bay Rays chose not to take part in the Pride Night celebration

A number of Major League Baseball players opted out of wearing a logo honouring LGBTQ+ pride during their team's annual celebrations.

The Tampa Bay Rays celebrated their 16th Pride Night on Saturday (4 June), with much of the team marking the occasion by sporting rainbow-patterned logos on their hats and uniforms.

Rays President Matt Silverman said the event allowed the team to 'extend an invitation' to the LGBTQ+ community, assuring they are 'invited, welcomed and celebrated'. However, five members of the team chose not to take part in wearing the logos.

Instead, players such as Jason Adam, Jalen Beeks, Brooks Raley, Jeffrey Springs and Ryan Thompson opted for their standard dress and caps for the home game on Saturday.

More than half of the players did appear to participate in the celebrations, but those who didn't put their decision down to religious beliefs and not wanting to encourage the 'behaviour' of people in the LGBTQ+ community, the Tampa Bay Times reports.

In a statement addressing the matter, Adam said it was 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," he said.

"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 behaviour, just like (Jesus) encourages me as a heterosexual male to abstain from sex outside of the confines of marriage. It’s no different."

Adam went on to assure that those who did not wear the rainbow on their uniforms were 'not judgemental', adding the choice was 'not looking down'.

He continued: "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.”

Kevin Cash, manager of the Tampa Bay Rays, claimed the differing opinions between players did not create any division.

"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," he said.

As well as celebrating Pride Night, the Rays have shown their support for the LGBTQ+ community by signing a brief to the US Supreme Court in favour of same-sex marriage and joining the 'It Gets Better' campaign to fight bullying among young people.

If you’ve been affected by any of these issues and want to speak to someone in confidence, contact the LGBT Foundation on 0345 3 30 30 30, 10am–6pm Monday to Friday, or email [email protected] 

Featured Image Credit: @RaysBaseball/Twitter

Topics: Sport, LGBTQ, US News