Jack Flaherty calls Rays players who refused to wear LGBT Pride uniforms an ‘absolute joke’


Several Rays players caught flak this weekend for refusing to wear an LBGT uniform patch on their sleeves, citing religious beliefs.

“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,” said right-hander Jason Adam, who, along with teammates Jalen Beeks, Brooks Raley, Jeffrey Springs and Ryan Thompson, opted against wearing hats and jerseys with rainbow lettering as part of Pride Night supporting LGBT rights. "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.”

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While manager Kevin Cash insists the controversy won’t divide the locker room or have any bearing on team camaraderie, it’s created a PR nightmare for the Rays with players being accused of homophobia. LGBT rights have come a long way in this country with significant progress made in recent years, though hatred and bigotry still exist, particularly in the Rays’ home state of Florida, where governor Ron DeSantis recently signed the “Don’t Say Gay” bill into law, prohibiting educators from discussing sexual orientation or gender identity in schools.

Cardinals ace Jack Flaherty, who is on the comeback trail after battling shoulder bursitis throughout spring training (he recently began a minor-league rehab assignment with Double-A Springfield), weighed in on social media, calling the five players who refused to take part in Pride Night an “absolute joke” for using religion to mask their intolerance.

Flaherty, who quotes Philippians 4:13 (“I can do all things through Christ which strengthens me”) in his Twitter bio, shows it’s possible to believe in a higher power without alienating an entire group of people. As Pride Month rolls on, hopefully players on other teams will be more accommodating toward the LGBT community, celebrating gay and transgender rights instead of dismissing one of the most important social movements of the 21st century.

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Featured Image Photo Credit: Julio Aguilar, Getty Images