No less than one unmistakable MLB pitcher wasn’t excited with the Tampa Bay Rays players’ choice to not wear rainbow-hued logos for the group’s “Pride Night” on Saturday.
Cardinals pitcher Jack Flaherty shared his considerations on Twitter after Rays pitchers Jason Adam, Jalen Beeks, Brooks Raley, Jeffrey Springs, and Ryan Thompson wouldn’t wear the gay pride logo on their regalia, it was a
“religious choice to say it.”
Adam, who spoke on behalf of the group of five, attempted to justify the decision by saying “a lot of it comes down to faith,” in an interview with the Tampa Bay Times.
“It’s a hard decision,” Adam said. “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.
“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.”
Flaherty, however, was not buying it.
Kevin Kiermaier, a veteran Rays outfielder who did wear the patch, told the Times he wanted to foster a culture of inclusivity at the team’s stadium.
“My parents taught me to love everyone as they are, go live your life, whatever your preferences are, go be you,” Kiermaier said. “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.”