The Rays have previously held Pride Nights, the most recent being the 16th, but this year, they borrowed an idea from the San Francisco Giants and wore rainbow emblems on their jerseys for a game. Rays pitchers Jason Adam, Brooks Raley, Jalen Beeks, Jeffrey Springs, and Ryan Thompson chose not to wear the rainbow logo for Saturday’s game against the Chicago White Sox, as the team intended it to be a voluntary exercise. (Raley and Beeks were the only ones who really took part in the game.)
So, in Saturday’s 3-2 loss to the Chicago White Sox, five players on the Tampa Bay Rays’ roster chose not to wear a patch the team affixed to its uniforms to commemorate Pride Month. Rays caps and uniforms were colored in the likeness of the modern LGBTQ+ pride flag during the team’s 16th annual Pride Night celebration.
The Players Who Didn’t Wear Pride Patch Said It Was A ‘Faith-Based Decision’
The team had Adam speak for the players who didn’t wear the patch after the game, and he called it a “faith-based decision” that wasn’t “judgmental.”
Try to decipher what he’s saying with the following quote as per the Tampa Bay Times:
“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.”
The players’ decision not to wear the pride hats and patches, which the team described as something players could opt-in to, did not cause any dissension in the clubhouse, according to manager Kevin Cash. “I believe what it’s produced is a lot of conversation and recognizing the different opinions inside the clubhouse but also appreciating the community that we’re trying to support here,” Cash said.
What were the various points of view? What is the counter-argument to “The LGBTQ community should experience unconditional support” that should be considered equally? In 2012, the notion that it’s some kind of debate was already hacked. What Jason Adam said is simply a repackaged point from a long line of oblivious athletes who came before him. Torii Hunter, a former outfielder for the Detroit Tigers, stated in 2012 that he would not play with a gay teammate because “biblically, it is not proper.” Daniel Murphy, then-Mets infielder, objected “with the reality that Billy is a gay” after Billy Bean, the second major-league athlete to officially come out, visited his clubhouse in 2015. There is a fact, and there is a person who denies it. There isn’t any room for disagreement.
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Bean responded to Murphy’s words with a generous and realistic reaction at the time. “I understood it would take time for many to embrace my message of inclusivity when I took this job at MLB,” he wrote for MLB.com. “It’s unrealistic to expect everyone to be supportive immediately soon. I believe that everyone who has competed in high-level men’s professional sports would concur with me. This does not alter my business practices or my belief in what I am doing, but it is reality.”
It has been seven years since then. I don’t think an alternate logo will help the Rays overcome homophobia, but more players are eager to accept and support the message behind it. Meanwhile, the few dissenters keep repeating the same talking point that is as valid now as it was a decade ago.