Kevin Cash says disabling ‘Pride Night’ logo for some Tampa Bay Rays players won’t divide team
ST. PETERSBURG, Fla. — A number of Tampa Bay Rays players opted out of wearing rainbow-colored logos on their uniforms as part of the team’s annual “Pride Night” on Saturday. which recognized the LGBTQ community.
Rays manager Kevin Cash spoke about it after Sunday’s game, saying he doesn’t think it will have a negative impact on the clubhouse as talks between the players over the past few weeks have been constructive. and emphasized the value of different perspectives.
“First and foremost, I think the organization has done a really good thing for Pride Nights to support our gay community to get out there and have a great night at the ballpark,” Cash said. “I’m impressed that our players have had these conversations and we want to support our players who choose to wear or not wear to the best of our abilities.”
Among the players who chose to remove the logos were pitchers Jason Adam, Jalen Beeks, Brooks Raley, Jeffrey Springs and Ryan Thompson, according to the Tampa Bay Times. Adam was elected to speak on behalf of the group after the game, saying it was a “faith-based decision” for many of them.
“So it’s a tough decision,” Adam told the Tampa Bay Times. “Because at the end of the day, we all said what we wanted was for them to know that everyone is welcome and loved here. But when we put it on our bodies, I think a lot of guys decided it was just a lifestyle that maybe – not that they seemed to be bashing anyone or thinking differently – it’s just that maybe we don’t want to encourage it if we believe in Jesus, who encouraged us to live a lifestyle that would refrain from this behavior.
“…It’s not judgmental. It’s not dismissive. It’s just what we believe the lifestyle he encouraged us to live, for our sake, not to hold back. But again, we love these men and women, we care about them and we want them to feel safe and welcome here.”
Earlier this year, Florida lawmakers passed a law, which Governor Ron DeSantis signed, that bans classroom instruction about sexual orientation and gender identity from kindergarten through third grade. Critics argue that the real intent of the law is to marginalize LGBTQ people and their families.
Members of the LGBTQ community participated in pre-game activities and mini LGBTQ flags were distributed to fans.
“It’s one of those things, my parents taught me to love everyone as they are, go live your life, whatever your preference, be yourself,” the center fielder told The Times. Kevin Kiermaier, who wore the rainbow logos. “I can’t speak for everyone here, obviously, but it’s a family environment here on a big league ballpark.
“…We just want everyone to feel welcome and included and cheer us on. It doesn’t matter what you think about anything.”
Saturday’s attendance was 19,452, above the season average of 16,868. Attendance for Sunday’s series finale against the Chicago White Sox was 11,162.
The Associated Press contributed to this story.