Five members of the Tampa Bay Rays chose not to wear rainbow-colored patches on their uniforms during the team’s Pride Night over the weekend, causing many to publicly criticize their choice.
The five players cited religious beliefs as to why they chose to remove the logos, and Tampa Rays manager Kevin Cash said that the organization supported each player’s right to wear or not wear the logos.
On Monday, Tampa Bay reliever Nick Anderson posted a message of support for his teammates on social media, saying that everyone is able to have “different beliefs.”
“It’s astonishing to me how people don’t understand that different beliefs exist,” Anderson posted to Twitter. “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.”
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Anderson then followed up with a lengthier statement explaining his post.
“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 said in a statement. “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.”
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“I never once said I thought gay people weren’t born gay,” Anderson continued. “Or that homophobia was right.”
One of the pitchers who chose not to wear the patch – Jason Adam – explained the reasoning behind the decision on Saturday.
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“A lot of it comes down to faith, to like a faith-based decision. 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,” he said, via the Tampa Bay Times.
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“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.”
Fox News’ Ryan Gaydos contributed to this report