Gay minor league slams Tampa Bay Rays players’ decision to not wear Pride logo on uniform
An openly gay minor league baseball player is speaking out against members of the Tampa Bay Rays who refused to to wear LGBTQ colors on their uniforms in honor of Pride month.
Bryan Ruby, 25, came out last year while playing independent ball in Oregon and is currently out of the sport promoting a music career.
Ruby spoke out about five Tampa pitchers – Jason Adam, Jalen Beeks, Brooks Raley, Jeffrey Springs and Ray Thompson – refusing to partake in wearing the one-time uniforms.
‘A lot of guys just don’t get that they’ve always had, and will continue to have, gay teammates. Such antiquated language and behavior actively hurts the team. It’s hard enough to be gay in baseball,’ Ruby told USA Today.
Ruby – who founded an activist group called Proud to Be in Baseball and is a ‘community advisor’ for a group attempting to bring an MLB team to the city of Nashville – added that he feels the pitchers’ decision sends a message that people like him are not welcome in baseball.
An openly gay minor league baseball player is speaking out against members of the Tampa Bay Rays who refused to to wear LGBTQ colors on their uniforms in honor of Pride month
Bryan Ruby, 25, came out last year while playing independent ball in Oregon and is currently out of the sport promoting a music career
Ruby founded an activist group called Proud to Be in Baseball and is a ‘community advisor’ for a group attempting to bring an MLB team to the city of Nashville
‘A lot of guys just don’t get that they’ve always had, and will continue to have, gay teammates. Such antiquated language and behavior actively hurts the team. It’s hard enough to be gay in baseball,’ Ruby said
He also took issue with Adam’s use of the Bible and Jesus to form his opinion on the matter.
‘It always baffles me when guys use Jesus as their excuse to discriminate,’ Ruby said, later adding, ‘This isn’t about religion. This is about being a good teammate. When guys go out of their way to make a point of opposing Pride Night, they’re sending a clear message that people like me just aren’t welcome in baseball.’
‘It’s a reminder that even on the one night we get to be proud of ourselves at the ballpark, we are still second-class citizens. It’s as simple as that,’ he added.
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, the 31-year-old Anderson 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’
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’
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’
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
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 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
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
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.
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.