Several major league ballplayers on the Tampa Bay Rays took a bold stance for their faith on Saturday, June 4, at a home game against the Chicago White Sox. It was “Pride Night” at the game, and the Rays’ players were supposed to wear both a “rainbow burst” logo on their sleeve as well as a special “Pride” cap rather than their standard ball cap.
At least five players, with the permission of the ball club, chose not to wear the Pride emblems, and a spokesman for the group attributed their actions to their Christian faith.
According to TMZ Sports, Jason Adam, Jalen Beeks, Brooks Raley, Jeffrey Springs and Ryan Thompson – all pitchers – were the five players who opted for standard uniforms rather than donning the special “Pride Night” gear.
The players took their stand with the permission of their ball club, and one, Jason Adam, was designated as the spokesperson for the five. Adam attributed their joint action to “faith-based” purposes.
“So it’s a hard decision,” Adam said. “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.
In the face of the increasing wokeness of corporate America, these players took a stand for their faith that could have gotten them in hot water. While Rays management’s consideration of the five players seems gracious and reasonable, it only does so because of how unreasonable the demands of LGBT politics have gotten today. They allow no room for dissent. But there is no virtue in not forcing people to follow wokeness and proclaim something they do not believe. It is called freedom of conscience and it is a fundamental human right..
Adam finished by explaining that the five were not judging anyone, but protecting their own conscience.
“It’s not judgmental,” he told TMZ. “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.”
Predictably, the five players have taken heat on social media and in the press for their action. BlazeMedia captured some of the reaction:
“Will someone please show me the Bible passage that says ‘Thou shalt not wear a rainbow on thou’s clothing’…” sportswriter Cyd Zeigler tweeted. In a column for Outsports, he called the players’ actions, and the Rays management’s support of it, “a disaster.”
But the five players gave their decision some thought and prayer before taking action.
In a message to Tampa news station WFLA, pitcher Ryan Thompson said, “those of us who decided not to wear the patch or hat spent a couple weeks in prayer and a deep dive into scripture on the subject at hand to come to the decision that we did.”
He added, “If I believe the Bible is infallible and that everlasting life is attainable yet I bow down to public opinion in the name of tolerance, is that love? I don’t think so.
“I cast no judgment, I cast no condemnation, I only feel called to share my faith, which is the most important thing in my life. I respect everyone’s free will to live their lives however they choose and can promise to treat nobody any different based upon their lifestyle.
“When we made the decision not to wear the hat, we knew persecution would come and it has some, but it has been so much more of a blessing to see the outpouring of support across the league and throughout the country.”
Taking a stand for Christ can come with a cost, but as these Tampa Bay players have learned, it’s the right thing to do and provides a unique opportunity to share the Gospel. We applaud their actions.
“For I am not ashamed of the gospel, for it is the power of God for salvation to everyone who believes, to the Jew first and also to the Greek.” (Romans 1:16 ESV)
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Photo from Twitter.