Rays’ Nick Anderson defends five of his teammates for refusing to wear Pride Night uniforms


‘It’s astonishing to me how people don’t understand that different beliefs exist’: Tampa Bay Rays pitcher speaks out to defend teammates who chose not to wear LGBTQ logos on their uniforms for Pride month

  • The Rays designed rainbow-colored logos for uniforms and caps for Saturday’s game against the Chicago White Sox, but five pitchers opted not to wear them
  • Pitcher Jason Adam defended their ‘faith based’ choice, saying that neither he, nor the other four players, were homophobic: ‘All are welcome and loved here’
  • On Monday, Rays pitcher – Nick Anderson, 31 – supported Adam and four other teammates, sharing that everyone should be allowed to have different beliefs
  • ‘It’s astonishing to me how people don’t understand that different beliefs exist,’ he tweeted
  • A day earlier, Cards pitcher Jack Flaherty tweeted two words in response to Saturday’s events: ‘Absolute joke’ 
  • The club did not call out or punish any of the five players for refusing to wear the logos as part of the team’s 16th annual Pride Night
  • Rays manager Kevin Cash said he and the organization supported ‘players that choose to wear or choose not to wear to the best of our capabilities’

A pitcher on the Tampa Bay Rays defended five of his teammates who opted not to wear LGBTQ colors on their uniforms in honor of Pride month, saying ‘it’s astonishing to me how people don’t understand that different beliefs exists.’

The Rays added LGBTQ logos to their caps and on the right sleeve of their jerseys for the club’s 16th annual Pride Night celebration during Saturday’s game against the visiting Chicago White Sox. 

However, five pitchers – Jason Adam, Jalen Beeks, Brooks Raley, Jeffrey Springs and Ray Thompson – refused to partake in wearing the one-time-worn uniforms. Instead, they stuck with wearing the Rays’ traditional blue and white colors. 

Adam, a reliever who spoke on behalf of the group, said ‘a lot of it comes down to faith, to like a faith-based decision.’ He also stressed that their decision was not the product of anti-gay discrimination, saying: ‘All are welcome and loved here.’  

After last weekend’s game, Tampa Bay Rays manager Kevin Cash said that he and the organization ‘want to support our players that choose to wear or choose not to wear to the best of our capabilities.’ 

On Monday, another of the Rays’ pitchers – Nick Anderson, 31 – tweeted in support of his teammates, sharing that everyone should be allowed to have different beliefs.

‘It’s astonishing to me how people don’t understand that different beliefs exist,’ he wrote. ‘And because you have different beliefs, in no way, shape, or form does that mean you look down on that individual or think they are lesser. You can love everyone and have differing beliefs.’

Tampa Bay Rays pitcher Nick Anderson tweeted in support of his teammates who didn't wear LGBTQ-issued uniforms in the franchise's 16th annual Pride Night celebration on Saturday, saying that 'you can love everyone and have differing beliefs'

Tampa Bay Rays pitcher Nick Anderson tweeted in support of his teammates who didn’t wear LGBTQ-issued uniforms in the franchise’s 16th annual Pride Night celebration on Saturday, saying that ‘you can love everyone and have differing beliefs’

The 31-year-old shared his comments on Tuesday after five of his teammates who opted not to wear LGBTQ colors on their uniforms

The 31-year-old shared his comments on Tuesday after five of his teammates who opted not to wear LGBTQ colors on their uniforms

Anderson then took a swipe at those 'who are trying to find any little thing to twist and make someone look bad for saying something that they never said' and told them that 'whatever you got going on in your life making you this way, just know that it will all be okay! Much love'

Anderson then took a swipe at those ‘who are trying to find any little thing to twist and make someone look bad for saying something that they never said’ and told them that ‘whatever you got going on in your life making you this way, just know that it will all be okay! Much love’

The Tampa Bay Rays shared the custom made uniforms for its Pride Night event on June 4 on social media. Five players on the team refused to wear them, wearing their regular uniforms instead

The Tampa Bay Rays shared the custom made uniforms for its Pride Night event on June 4 on social media. Five players on the team refused to wear them, wearing their regular uniforms instead

Anderson followed-up on his comments by sharing a screenshot of a message that he wrote on his iPhone. 

‘When I say differing beliefs, I’m talking about the people who believe everyone would wear something and if you don’t, you should burn and are a terrible person or whatever name you want to call them,’ Anderson shared on Twitter. ‘I also was saying that just because you don’t wear maybe a said “patch” doesn’t mean you think those people should burn and are terrible people.’

‘I never once said I thought gay people weren’t born gay,’ Anderson added. ‘Or that homophobia was right. So to all of you who are trying to find any little thing to twist and make someone look bad for saying something that they never said, whatever you got going on in your life making this way, just know that it will all be ok! Much love.’

On Sunday, St Louis Cardinals pitcher Jack Flaherty reacted to the five players on the Rays refusing to wear the Pride-customized jerseys with a two-worded tweet: ‘absolute joke.’ 

On Sunday, Cardinals pitcher Jack Flaherty reacted to Saturday's events with a concise tweet: 'absolute joke'

On Sunday, Cardinals pitcher Jack Flaherty reacted to Saturday’s events with a concise tweet: ‘absolute joke’

Starting pitcher Drew Rasmussen (57)

Outfielder Randy Arozarena (56)

Most players who appeared in the Rays’ 3-2 loss against the Chicago White Sox on Saturday night for the franchise’s Pride night wore the LGBTQ+-themed uniforms

Tampa Bay Rays shortstop Vidal Brujan (with the baseball) and second baseman Isaac Paredes Garcia (far right) are seen wearing rainbow-colored caps during the third inning of the Rays versus White Sox game on Saturday

Tampa Bay Rays shortstop Vidal Brujan (with the baseball) and second baseman Isaac Paredes Garcia (far right) are seen wearing rainbow-colored caps during the third inning of the Rays versus White Sox game on Saturday

Rays relief pitcher Brooks Raley was part of a five-players minority on the team that did not want to wear the LGBTQ uniforms on Saturday. Instead, he wore the Rays' traditional blue and white colors

Rays relief pitcher Brooks Raley was part of a five-players minority on the team that did not want to wear the LGBTQ uniforms on Saturday. Instead, he wore the Rays’ traditional blue and white colors

On the same day, Rays President Matt Silverman told the New York Times that he was happy that the event sparked important discussions among the clubhouse.

‘I’m proud of the fact we did this and so many of our players chose to wear the logo,’ Silverman said. ‘I’m also proud of the conversations we had during the run-up to this night and in the aftermath. That’s a really good byproduct of this: to be able to actually have these conversations is really valuable and rare.’

Flaherty’s tweet prompted similar conversations on social media, with followers making hypothetical arguments to share their views.

‘What if on Easter Sunday all players would be forced to wear a cross on there (sic) sleeve to symbolize the resurrection?’ one fan asked. ‘Would it be ok for players to refuse because of their religious beliefs or lack of?’

Another fan accused the five pitchers of failing a tenet of Christianity.

‘Jesus: ”This is my commandment, That ye love one another, as I have loved you (John 15:12),”’ the fan tweeted. ‘Five Tampa Bay Rays: ”No thanks, it’s against my religion.”’

On Saturday’s Pride-themed night at Tropicana Field, fans who are part of the local LGBTQ community took part in pregame activities organized by the MLB franchise. Mini LGBTQ flags were additionally given out to fans, while the field’s mount and the stadium’s roof both displayed pride colors. 

The Tampa Bay Rays designed a pride-colored version of its logo on Tropicana Field's mount to mark the 16th annual Pride Night celebration on Saturday

The Tampa Bay Rays designed a pride-colored version of its logo on Tropicana Field’s mount to mark the 16th annual Pride Night celebration on Saturday

The Rays have long supported its LGBTQ fans, and lightened up its dome's roof in Pride colors on Saturday night

 The Rays have long supported its LGBTQ fans, and lightened up its dome’s roof in Pride colors on Saturday night

Some Rays fans on Saturday night wore rainbow colors at Tropicana field to support the local LGBTQ community

Some Rays fans on Saturday night wore rainbow colors at Tropicana field to support the local LGBTQ community

Other fans wore rainbow flags during the Ray's Pride Night game on June 4

Other fans wore rainbow flags during the Ray’s Pride Night game on June 4

Afterwards, most of the discussion centered around the five pitchers who decided not to wear the logos.

‘It’s a hard decision,’ Adam told the Tampa Bay Times. ‘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,’ Adam added.

‘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,’ he concluded.

Tampa Bay Rays relief pitcher Jalen Beeks was one of five team members to not wear the Pride-themed uniforms

Tampa Bay Rays relief pitcher Jalen Beeks was one of five team members to not wear the Pride-themed uniforms

Rays officials described the one-night event as an ‘opt-in’ exercise and respect the difference in choices made by the players despite expressing that the preferred outcome would have been to have all the players onboard with the idea.

Outfielder and nine-year team veteran Kevin Keirmaier, who partook in wearing the LGBTQ+-themed uniforms and cap, said inclusivity was constantly taught to him in his upbringing.

‘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,’ Keirmaier told the Tampa Bay 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.

In May, the Rays announced on Twitter that it had donated $50,000 to Everytown for Gun Safety's Support Fund after the 'devastating events that took place in Uvalde, Buffalo and countless other communities across our nation'

In May, the Rays announced on Twitter that it had donated $50,000 to Everytown for Gun Safety’s Support Fund after the ‘devastating events that took place in Uvalde, Buffalo and countless other communities across our nation’ 

The Rays have long supported its LGBTQ+ members, even signing an amicus brief to the US Supreme Court’s decision to strike down all state bans on same-sex marriage in 2015. The franchise has also invested in the ‘It Gets Better’ project to tackle youth bullying that targets LGBTQ+ minors in school.

Earlier this month, Florida Governor Ron DeSantis vetoed a $35million project from the Rays to build a spring training site, after the franchise publicly shared its stance on gun violence after mass shoots in Buffalo, New York, and Uvalde, Texas.

‘I don’t support giving taxpayer dollars to professional sports stadiums, ‘ DeSantis told reporters on Friday, when asked about his decision to not approve of the team’s financing for its training complex.

‘Companies are free to engage or not engage with whatever discourse they want, but clearly it’s inappropriate to be doing tax dollars for professional sports stadiums. It’s also inappropriate to subsidize political activism of a private corporation,’ he added.

On May 26, the Rays tweeted in the aftermath of the ‘devastating events that took place in Uvalde, Buffalo and countless other communities across our nation’, that it stood ‘committed to actionable change and has made a $50,000 commitment to Everytown for Gun Safety’s Support Fund.’

The team also tweeted several facts and statistics on gun violence across the nation.

Earlier this year, Florida legislators passed a law, which DeSantis signed, that forbids classroom instruction on sexual orientation and gender identity in kindergarten through third grade.

Critics argue that the law’s true intent is to marginalize LGBTQ people and their families.

Governor of Florida Ron DeSantis (pictured) vetoed the Rays' plans to build a $35million brand new spring training camp after the franchise shared its stance on to eliminate gun violence

Governor of Florida Ron DeSantis (pictured) vetoed the Rays’ plans to build a $35million brand new spring training camp after the franchise shared its stance on to eliminate gun violence

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Rays’ Nick Anderson defends five of his teammates for refusing to wear Pride Night uniforms


‘It’s astonishing to me how people don’t understand that different beliefs exist’: Tampa Bay Rays pitcher speaks out to defend teammates who chose not to wear LGBTQ logos on their uniforms for Pride month

  • The Rays designed rainbow-colored logos for uniforms and caps for Saturday’s game against the Chicago White Sox, but five pitchers opted not to wear them
  • Pitcher Jason Adam defended their ‘faith based’ choice, saying that neither he, nor the other four players, were homophobic: ‘All are welcome and loved here’
  • On Monday, Rays pitcher – Nick Anderson, 31 – supported Adam and four other teammates, sharing that everyone should be allowed to have different beliefs
  • ‘It’s astonishing to me how people don’t understand that different beliefs exist,’ he tweeted
  • A day earlier, Cards pitcher Jack Flaherty tweeted two words in response to Saturday’s events: ‘Absolute joke’ 
  • The club did not call out or punish any of the five players for refusing to wear the logos as part of the team’s 16th annual Pride Night
  • Rays manager Kevin Cash said he and the organization supported ‘players that choose to wear or choose not to wear to the best of our capabilities’

A pitcher on the Tampa Bay Rays defended five of his teammates who opted not to wear LGBTQ colors on their uniforms in honor of Pride month, saying ‘it’s astonishing to me how people don’t understand that different beliefs exists.’

The Rays added LGBTQ logos to their caps and on the right sleeve of their jerseys for the club’s 16th annual Pride Night celebration during Saturday’s game against the visiting Chicago White Sox. 

However, five pitchers – Jason Adam, Jalen Beeks, Brooks Raley, Jeffrey Springs and Ray Thompson – refused to partake in wearing the one-time-worn uniforms. Instead, they stuck with wearing the Rays’ traditional blue and white colors. 

Adam, a reliever who spoke on behalf of the group, said ‘a lot of it comes down to faith, to like a faith-based decision.’ He also stressed that their decision was not the product of anti-gay discrimination, saying: ‘All are welcome and loved here.’  

After last weekend’s game, Tampa Bay Rays manager Kevin Cash said that he and the organization ‘want to support our players that choose to wear or choose not to wear to the best of our capabilities.’ 

On Monday, another of the Rays’ pitchers – Nick Anderson, 31 – tweeted in support of his teammates, sharing that everyone should be allowed to have different beliefs.

‘It’s astonishing to me how people don’t understand that different beliefs exist,’ he wrote. ‘And because you have different beliefs, in no way, shape, or form does that mean you look down on that individual or think they are lesser. You can love everyone and have differing beliefs.’

Tampa Bay Rays pitcher Nick Anderson tweeted in support of his teammates who didn't wear LGBTQ-issued uniforms in the franchise's 16th annual Pride Night celebration on Saturday, saying that 'you can love everyone and have differing beliefs'

Tampa Bay Rays pitcher Nick Anderson tweeted in support of his teammates who didn’t wear LGBTQ-issued uniforms in the franchise’s 16th annual Pride Night celebration on Saturday, saying that ‘you can love everyone and have differing beliefs’

The 31-year-old shared his comments on Tuesday after five of his teammates who opted not to wear LGBTQ colors on their uniforms

The 31-year-old shared his comments on Tuesday after five of his teammates who opted not to wear LGBTQ colors on their uniforms

Anderson then took a swipe at those 'who are trying to find any little thing to twist and make someone look bad for saying something that they never said' and told them that 'whatever you got going on in your life making you this way, just know that it will all be okay! Much love'

Anderson then took a swipe at those ‘who are trying to find any little thing to twist and make someone look bad for saying something that they never said’ and told them that ‘whatever you got going on in your life making you this way, just know that it will all be okay! Much love’

The Tampa Bay Rays shared the custom made uniforms for its Pride Night event on June 4 on social media. Five players on the team refused to wear them, wearing their regular uniforms instead

The Tampa Bay Rays shared the custom made uniforms for its Pride Night event on June 4 on social media. Five players on the team refused to wear them, wearing their regular uniforms instead

Anderson followed-up on his comments by sharing a screenshot of a message that he wrote on his iPhone. 

‘When I say differing beliefs, I’m talking about the people who believe everyone would wear something and if you don’t, you should burn and are a terrible person or whatever name you want to call them,’ Anderson shared on Twitter. ‘I also was saying that just because you don’t wear maybe a said “patch” doesn’t mean you think those people should burn and are terrible people.’

‘I never once said I thought gay people weren’t born gay,’ Anderson added. ‘Or that homophobia was right. So to all of you who are trying to find any little thing to twist and make someone look bad for saying something that they never said, whatever you got going on in your life making this way, just know that it will all be ok! Much love.’

On Sunday, St Louis Cardinals pitcher Jack Flaherty reacted to the five players on the Rays refusing to wear the Pride-customized jerseys with a two-worded tweet: ‘absolute joke.’ 

On Sunday, Cardinals pitcher Jack Flaherty reacted to Saturday's events with a concise tweet: 'absolute joke'

On Sunday, Cardinals pitcher Jack Flaherty reacted to Saturday’s events with a concise tweet: ‘absolute joke’

Starting pitcher Drew Rasmussen (57)

Outfielder Randy Arozarena (56)

Most players who appeared in the Rays’ 3-2 loss against the Chicago White Sox on Saturday night for the franchise’s Pride night wore the LGBTQ+-themed uniforms

Tampa Bay Rays shortstop Vidal Brujan (with the baseball) and second baseman Isaac Paredes Garcia (far right) are seen wearing rainbow-colored caps during the third inning of the Rays versus White Sox game on Saturday

Tampa Bay Rays shortstop Vidal Brujan (with the baseball) and second baseman Isaac Paredes Garcia (far right) are seen wearing rainbow-colored caps during the third inning of the Rays versus White Sox game on Saturday

Rays relief pitcher Brooks Raley was part of a five-players minority on the team that did not want to wear the LGBTQ uniforms on Saturday. Instead, he wore the Rays' traditional blue and white colors

Rays relief pitcher Brooks Raley was part of a five-players minority on the team that did not want to wear the LGBTQ uniforms on Saturday. Instead, he wore the Rays’ traditional blue and white colors

On the same day, Rays President Matt Silverman told the New York Times that he was happy that the event sparked important discussions among the clubhouse.

‘I’m proud of the fact we did this and so many of our players chose to wear the logo,’ Silverman said. ‘I’m also proud of the conversations we had during the run-up to this night and in the aftermath. That’s a really good byproduct of this: to be able to actually have these conversations is really valuable and rare.’

Flaherty’s tweet prompted similar conversations on social media, with followers making hypothetical arguments to share their views.

‘What if on Easter Sunday all players would be forced to wear a cross on there (sic) sleeve to symbolize the resurrection?’ one fan asked. ‘Would it be ok for players to refuse because of their religious beliefs or lack of?’

Another fan accused the five pitchers of failing a tenet of Christianity.

‘Jesus: ”This is my commandment, That ye love one another, as I have loved you (John 15:12),”’ the fan tweeted. ‘Five Tampa Bay Rays: ”No thanks, it’s against my religion.”’

On Saturday’s Pride-themed night at Tropicana Field, fans who are part of the local LGBTQ community took part in pregame activities organized by the MLB franchise. Mini LGBTQ flags were additionally given out to fans, while the field’s mount and the stadium’s roof both displayed pride colors. 

The Tampa Bay Rays designed a pride-colored version of its logo on Tropicana Field's mount to mark the 16th annual Pride Night celebration on Saturday

The Tampa Bay Rays designed a pride-colored version of its logo on Tropicana Field’s mount to mark the 16th annual Pride Night celebration on Saturday

The Rays have long supported its LGBTQ fans, and lightened up its dome's roof in Pride colors on Saturday night

 The Rays have long supported its LGBTQ fans, and lightened up its dome’s roof in Pride colors on Saturday night

Some Rays fans on Saturday night wore rainbow colors at Tropicana field to support the local LGBTQ community

Some Rays fans on Saturday night wore rainbow colors at Tropicana field to support the local LGBTQ community

Other fans wore rainbow flags during the Ray's Pride Night game on June 4

Other fans wore rainbow flags during the Ray’s Pride Night game on June 4

Afterwards, most of the discussion centered around the five pitchers who decided not to wear the logos.

‘It’s a hard decision,’ Adam told the Tampa Bay Times. ‘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,’ Adam added.

‘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,’ he concluded.

Tampa Bay Rays relief pitcher Jalen Beeks was one of five team members to not wear the Pride-themed uniforms

Tampa Bay Rays relief pitcher Jalen Beeks was one of five team members to not wear the Pride-themed uniforms

Rays officials described the one-night event as an ‘opt-in’ exercise and respect the difference in choices made by the players despite expressing that the preferred outcome would have been to have all the players onboard with the idea.

Outfielder and nine-year team veteran Kevin Keirmaier, who partook in wearing the LGBTQ+-themed uniforms and cap, said inclusivity was constantly taught to him in his upbringing.

‘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,’ Keirmaier told the Tampa Bay 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.

In May, the Rays announced on Twitter that it had donated $50,000 to Everytown for Gun Safety's Support Fund after the 'devastating events that took place in Uvalde, Buffalo and countless other communities across our nation'

In May, the Rays announced on Twitter that it had donated $50,000 to Everytown for Gun Safety’s Support Fund after the ‘devastating events that took place in Uvalde, Buffalo and countless other communities across our nation’ 

The Rays have long supported its LGBTQ+ members, even signing an amicus brief to the US Supreme Court’s decision to strike down all state bans on same-sex marriage in 2015. The franchise has also invested in the ‘It Gets Better’ project to tackle youth bullying that targets LGBTQ+ minors in school.

Earlier this month, Florida Governor Ron DeSantis vetoed a $35million project from the Rays to build a spring training site, after the franchise publicly shared its stance on gun violence after mass shoots in Buffalo, New York, and Uvalde, Texas.

‘I don’t support giving taxpayer dollars to professional sports stadiums, ‘ DeSantis told reporters on Friday, when asked about his decision to not approve of the team’s financing for its training complex.

‘Companies are free to engage or not engage with whatever discourse they want, but clearly it’s inappropriate to be doing tax dollars for professional sports stadiums. It’s also inappropriate to subsidize political activism of a private corporation,’ he added.

On May 26, the Rays tweeted in the aftermath of the ‘devastating events that took place in Uvalde, Buffalo and countless other communities across our nation’, that it stood ‘committed to actionable change and has made a $50,000 commitment to Everytown for Gun Safety’s Support Fund.’

The team also tweeted several facts and statistics on gun violence across the nation.

Earlier this year, Florida legislators passed a law, which DeSantis signed, that forbids classroom instruction on sexual orientation and gender identity in kindergarten through third grade.

Critics argue that the law’s true intent is to marginalize LGBTQ people and their families.

Governor of Florida Ron DeSantis (pictured) vetoed the Rays' plans to build a $35million brand new spring training camp after the franchise shared its stance on to eliminate gun violence

Governor of Florida Ron DeSantis (pictured) vetoed the Rays’ plans to build a $35million brand new spring training camp after the franchise shared its stance on to eliminate gun violence

Source

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