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Tampa Bay Rays Players Split Over Wearing Rainbow Logos on Pride Night

Tampa Bay Rays blast
A rainbow colored version of a blast worn on Tampa Bay Rays players' uniforms

Most players decided to wear the rainbow logos on their uniforms, while others opted not to and peeled the Pride elements off. 

@wgacooper

Several Tampa Bay Rays players refused to wear the team's rainbow-colored logo on their uniforms for Saturday's 16th annual "Pride Night."

Most players added rainbow-colored logos to their uniforms, as well as to the "TB" on their caps and a sunburst on their right jersey sleeves, the Tampa Bay Times reports.

"Our Pride Nights continue to grow both in terms of visibility and participation," the team's president Matt Silverman told the paper. "By doing this, we extend an invitation not just for this game but for all of our games that the LGBTQ+ community is invited, welcomed, and celebrated."

The Rays' manager Kevin Cash said he didn't think the player's decision would affect the team negatively, the Associated Press reports. He said the players had been in discussions over the last few weeks about wearing the logos.

"First and foremost, I think the organization has done a really good thing to have Pride Night's supporting our gay community to come out and have a nice night at the ballpark," Cash said, according to the news wire. "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."

Rays pitcher Jason Adam chose not to wear the logo. He said that it was a "faith-based decision," according to the 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," Adam 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 behavior, just like [Jesus] encourages me as a heterosexual male to abstain from sex outside of the confines of marriage. It's no different."

Other players that peeled the burst logo off the uniform and wore the standard hat included Jalen Beeks, Brooks Raley, Jeffrey Springs, and Ryan Thompson.

Officials for the team told the Times that they had preferred if the entire time had worn the logos, but that they thought giving the players a choice wasn't important.

Outfielder Kevin Kiermaier wore the logos.

"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," Kiermaier 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."

The "Pride Night" had pregame activities for those in attendance and Pride flags were provided to fans. More than 19,000 came out for the night, compared to the season average of 16,868, according to the AP.

@wgacooper
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