Some Tampa Bay Rays players reportedly broke from the organization’s support of the LGBTQ+ community Saturday during the team’s Pride Night against the Chicago White Sox.
Most Rays players were wearing rainbow logos on their caps and sleeves. But the Tampa Bay Times noted that pitchers Jason Adam, Jalen Beeks, Brooks Raley, Jeffrey Springs and Ryan Thompson were among those who didn’t wear the logos of support.
Adam made a statement on behalf of the players who opted out and cited religious beliefs.
"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," he said, via the Tampa Bay Times.
"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."
According to the newspaper, the Rays wanted full participation from all players but gave the option to "opt in."
Kevin Kiermaier told the Tampa Bay Times he wanted everyone who visits Tropicana Field to watch the team play to "feel welcomed and included and cheer us on."
Saturday marked the Rays’ 16th Pride Night. The San Francisco Giants have also held Pride Nights to show support for the LGBTQ+ community.