There were five Tampa Bay Rays players who refused to wear the gay pride logo on their uniforms because of their religious beliefs. Those guys were “bigots,” says ESPN commentator Sarah Spain.
Spain made her feelings clear live on Monday’s episode of Around the Horn.
“[This] is what tends to happen when frivolous class isn’t affected by things,” Spain begins. “That religious exemption BS is used in sports and otherwise also allows for people to be denied health care, jobs, apartments, children, prescriptions, all sorts of rights.
“We have to stop tiptoeing around it because we’re trying to protect people who are trying to be bigoted from asking for them to be exempt from it, when the very people that they are bigoted against are suffering the consequences you say trying to be bigoted.”
During the team’s 16th annual Pride Night celebration, Rays caps and uniforms had logos colored in the style of the modern LGBTQ+ pride flag, but not everyone in the clubhouse chose to participate.
The five players she is talking about are Jason Adam, Jalen Beeks, Brooks Raley, Jeffrey Springs and Ryan Thompson.
Adam was selected by the organization to speak on behalf of the players who opted out, and called it a “faith-based decision.” He also claimed that the decision wasn’t “judgmental,” per the Times:
“So it’s a hard decision. 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.”
I’m sure this won’t be the last we hear of this controversy.