At least five Tampa Bay Rays players opted not to wear LGBTQ-themed logos the team added to its uniforms to celebrate its annual "Pride Night" during Saturday's game against the Chicago White Sox.
According to the Tampa Bay Times, pitchers Jason Adam, Jalen Beeks, Brooks Raley, Jeffrey Springs and Ryan Thompson declined to wear the rainbow-colored logo on the caps and jerseys but their decision was not "judgmental," Adam told the Tampa Bay Times.
Adam, who was selected by the organization to speak on behalf of the players who opted out, said this was a "faith-based decision."
"So it's a hard decision," he said. "We love these men and women, we care about them and we want them to feel safe and welcome 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.
"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."
— Tampa Bay Rays (@RaysBaseball) June 4, 2022
Tampa Bay Rays manager Kevin Cash addressed the matter after Sunday's game, saying he doesn't think it'll negatively impact the clubhouse because discussions among the players over past few weeks were constructive and emphasized the value of differing perspectives.
"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," he said, according to the AP.
Rays outfielder Kevin Kiermaier, who wore the cap and burst logo, said inclusivity was an important element to him.
"It's one of those things, my parents taught me to love everyone as they are, go live your life, whatever your preferences are, go be you," he told the Times. "I can't speak for everyone who's in here, obviously, but this is a family-friendly environment here at a big-league ball field."
"We just want everyone to feel welcomed and included and cheer us on. No matter what your views on anything are," he added.