Cardinals pitcher Jack Flaherty slams Rays players who refused to wear rainbow logos for Pride Night

Several Tampa Bay Rays players declined to wear a rainbow-themed hat for the club’s Pride Night, and one major league pitcher thinks their decision is an “absolute joke.”

The story about the rainbow hats, first reported by Marc Topkin of the Tampa Bay Times, went viral on social media Sunday, and St. Louis Cardinals pitcher Jack Flaherty chimed in.

“Absolute joke,” Flaherty tweeted, commenting about a Tampa Bay player’s quote that he isn’t wearing the Pride Night attire because of his “faith.”

Rays pitcher Jason Adam was one of five Tampa Bay players who chose not to wear the hat with a rainbow version of the team’s logo for Pride Night on Saturday. Adam, along with Ryan Thompson, Jeffrey Springs, Brooks Raley and Jalen Beeks, instead wore their regular hats. 

Adam told Topkin that it was a “hard decision” and that he wants members of the LGBTQ community to “feel safe and welcome” at Tropicana Field. 

“It’s a hard decision. Because ultimately we all said what we want is them to know that all are welcome and loved here,” Adam said. “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.”

“It’s not judgmental. It’s not looking down,” Adam added. “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.”

Most of the team’s players wore the hat, as well as a rainbow uniform sleeve, to support the LGBTQ community. According to Topkin’s report, the club wanted full participation from its players, but the organization chose to make wearing the hat an “opt-in” exercise. 

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