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Louis Cardinals’ Jake Flaherty had trouble with several Tampa Bay Rays deciding not to wear Pride patches in support of the LGBTQ+ community in Saturday’s game as part of the team’s 16th annual Pride Night.
Rays players Jason Adam, Galen Peaks, Brooks Raleigh, Jeffrey Springs and Ryan Thompson did not wear the Pride logo for the game against the Chicago White Sox for religious reasons, a move Flaherty criticized on social media.
“An absolute joke,” Flaherty wrote on Twitter in response to the Rice players’ decision.
Adam told the Tampa Bay Times that the athletes who abstained from the Pride Night celebrations did not make the decision to judge them and that they love and care about members of the LGBTQ+ community.
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“A lot of it goes back to faith, to love religious decision,” Adam said. “So it’s a tough decision. Because in the end we said all 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 men have decided it’s just a lifestyle maybe–not that they look down on anyone or think differently–it’s just that we probably don’t want to encourage it if we believe in Jesus, who encouraged us to live a lifestyle that abstains from This behavior, just like [Jesus] He encourages me as a heterosexual man to abstain from sex outside of marriage. “It is not different,” he said.
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Adam added, “This is not a judgment. It is not ignoring. It is just what we believe in in the lifestyle [Jesus] Encourage us to live for our own good, not abstain.”
“But, again, we love these men and women, we care about them and we want them to feel safe and welcome here,” he said.
Rays manager Kevin Cash said Sunday that he doesn’t believe differing opinions will harm the team, Sports Illustrated reported. He previously said that the athletes had held talks on the matter in recent weeks and stressed the importance of “valuing different points of view”.
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Veteran Rys player Kevin Kiermayer, who wore the pride patch, told The Times that creating an “environment of inclusivity” was of great importance to him.
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“It’s one of those things, my parents taught me to love everyone as they are, and to live your life, whatever your preferences, be you,” said Kiermayer. “I can’t speak for everyone who is here, of course, but this is a family friendly environment here on a major league ball court… We just want everyone to feel welcome, included and encouraged. No matter what you think of anything.”