June 6, 2022 — Athlete Ally responded today to news that during Saturday’s Pride night celebration, five Tampa Bay Rays players — pitchers Jason Adam, Jalen Beeks, Brooks Raley, Jeffrey Springs and Ryan Thompson — peeled the rainbow logo off of their jerseys.
As reported by Sports Illustrated, Adam, who was chosen to speak on behalf of the group that decided not to wear the logos, called the decision “faith-based.”
“As someone who grew up in an evangelical Christian home, I was taught that faith compels us to love one another and to spread compassion,” said Hudson Taylor, Founder and Executive Director of Athlete Ally. “Wearing the rainbow logo is not to deny one’s faith, it is a statement of choosing inclusion over exclusion. An act of love over hate. When there isn’t a single openly active gay baseball player in all of Major League Baseball, when half of LGBTQ+ folks surveyed report experiencing discrimination, insults, bullying or abuse while playing, watching or talking about sports, when 80% of LGBTQ athletes are not out to their coaches or teammates, and when 40% of homeless youth are LGBTQ kids who have been kicked out of their homes by homophobic and transphobic parents – choosing not to wear the rainbow logo is to choose the side of isolation, exclusion and othering for the LGBTQI+ community. A choice that Jesus would never have made. It is 2022. I hope that athletes of faith seeing this news will choose differently, because lives could literally depend upon it.”
In the words of longtime Rays outfielder Kevin Kiermaier, who did wear the rainbow logo: “My parents taught me to love everyone as they are.. We just want everyone to feel welcomed and included.”