The Tampa Bay Rays wish to commemorate the LGBTQ community during Pride Month by having a rainbow-colored logo on their players’ jerseys for “Pride Night,” the team’s annual gay night. “Our Pride Nights continue to grow both in terms of visibility and participation,” Tampa Bay Rays President Matt Silverman told the Tampa Bay Times. “By doing this, we extend an invitation not just for this game but for all of our games that the LGBTQ+ community is invited, welcomed, and celebrated.”

The pregame activities included members of the LGBTQ community who planned events for the MLB team. Free mini Pride flags were given out to fans while the field’s mount and stadium roof were lit in rainbow colors. However, not all Tampa Bay Rays players were proud to show their support for the LGBTQ community.

The Tampa Bay Rays pitchers Jason Adam, Jalen Beeks, Brooks Raley, Jeffrey Springs, and Ryan Thompson declined to participate in the Pride initiative and instead donned their regular attire. According to Adam, he spent a significant amount of time deciding whether or not to participate in the initiative and noted that “a lot of it comes down to faith, to like a faith-based decision.”

In an interview with the Tampa Bay Times, he explained how his religion compels him not to offer his assistance to LGBTQ individuals.

“So 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.”

For the sake of his Christian faith, Adam thinks that the Pride colors are in conflict with his beliefs and that he must remain a heterosexual male.

“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 said.

On May 18, Tampa Bay Rays manager Kevin Cash revealed that a portion of his players refused to wear the Pride colors the day after the game. Despite having productive discussions about valuing different viewpoints, he does not believe these five individuals’ decisions will have an impact on how the team operates.

“First and foremost, I think the organization has done a really good thing to have Pride Night’s supporting our gay community to come out and have a nice night at the ballpark,” Cash stated. “Impressed that our players have had those conversions, and we want to support our players that choose to wear or choose not to wear to the best of our capabilities.”