During June, which has been deemed Pride Month to show support for the LGBT community, some MLB teams add rainbow flair to their uniforms. But five pitchers on the Florida team refused to participate, citing their religious beliefs.
The five players, Jason Adam, Jalen Beeks, Brooks Raley, Jeffrey Springs and Ryan Thompson, defended their choice to local newspapers.
“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,” Adam told the Tampa Bay Times.
He emphasized that their decision was not an anti-LGBT statement.
“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,” he continued. “But again, we love these men and women, we care about them, and we want them to feel safe and welcome here.”
Thompson spoke to NBC affiliate WFLA, saying the team was “unified” in its “love for the LGBTQ+ community”.
“I cast no judgment. I cast no condemnation. I only feel called to share my faith, which is the most important thing in my life,” he said. “I respect everyone’s free will to live their lives however they choose and can promise to treat nobody any different based upon their lifestyle.”
The Rays and Major League Baseball have not commented thus far.