ESPN Personality Rants Against 'Bigoted' Christian MLB Players Who Opted Out of Wearing LGBT Patch
Tampa Bay Rays players who declined to wear special LGBT patches and caps as the team held a “pride month” event Saturday have been called bigots for acting out their Christian faith.
Acting as a spokesman for the MLB players, Rays pitcher Jason Adam said they didn’t feel it was right for them to encourage the LGBT lifestyle, but they wanted to make it clear that “all are welcome and loved here.”
Today, we wear our #Pride on our sleeves pic.twitter.com/bcOLJNhx6Y
— Tampa Bay Rays (@RaysBaseball) June 4, 2022
That led to an anti-Christian rant from ESPN’s Sarah Spain on Monday.
“Pride is about inclusion, so you don’t love them and don’t welcome them if you’re not willing to wear the patch,” Spain said on “Around the Horn.”
“It’s what tends to happen when a privileged class isn’t affected by things,” she said. “This is not just about baseball. That religious exemption BS, which is used in sport and otherwise, also allows for people to be denied health care, jobs, apartments, children, prescriptions, all sorts of rights.
“And so we have to stop tiptoeing around it because we’re trying to protect people who are trying to be bigoted from asking for them to be exempt from it, when the very people that they are bigoted against are suffering the consequences.”
Host Tony Reali interjected, “When you say ‘trying to be bigoted’ …”
“They’re trying to use religious exemptions to affect the opportunities, services, available resources for people who are LGBTQ+,” she said.
“And a patch on the jersey in this way?” Reali asked.
“In the case of sport, no,” Spain said. “In the case of sport, though, they’re double-talking if they’re saying ‘you’re welcome’ while also saying that ‘we don’t encourage or we disagree with it.'”
In addition to Adam, the players who did not participate included pitchers Jalen Beeks, Brooks Raley, Jeffrey Springs and Ryan Thompson.
Many rebuked Spain for attacking players who were acting from faith.
Yesterday @espn’s Sarah Spain said on air that Tampa Bay Rays players who don’t wear a pride flag are bigoted and using BS religion. Imagine turning on sports and getting this loony left wing insanity on your TV. Embarrassing. pic.twitter.com/Z0B9KzSS1k
— Clay Travis (@ClayTravis) June 8, 2022
I’m willing to bet she never would’ve said a thing if these guys were Muslims…
— Crosseyed Miles (@CrosseyedMiles) June 8, 2022
These players trained their whole life to be good at a sport they love and represent a BASEBALL team.
Players need to respond to this ridicule with simply, “I train to play the best baseball I can for the fans who come to watch.”
— Travis Berridge (@theguywhofawkes) June 8, 2022
Sarah Spain is not just anti-Christian. She’s a Rainbow Nationalist, and these rebellious players guys are pulling a Kaepernick. Like conservatives, she feels very strongly about any disrespect of her flag and symbols. https://t.co/m42jcPl4lI
— Delano Squires (@DelanoSquires) June 8, 2022
Hey @SarahSpain, if anyone here is a bigot, it’s you for trying to force people to wear things they are uncomfortable with wearing. As a gay man in this country I wish individuals like you would shut the hell up instead of trying to make things like this into a story they aren’t https://t.co/h72Vo7Ajzk
— B (@brandonsblog) June 6, 2022
Spain doubled down on her rant Monday on Twitter.
“The term homosexual didn’t exist until the late 19th century!” she claimed. “Bible references aren’t aligned w/ today’s same-sex loving relationship.”
The ESPN reporter went on to say, “Using your religion as a shield for ignorance & bigotry is antiquated–and it’s a choice. It’s a choice made of privilege: You’re not affected by the policies & laws that discriminate. You’re not endangered by the hatred that bubbles.
“It’s a choice made of ignorance: You use faith to disguise fear of the unknown & you choose not to learn or evolve. You selectively pick & choose Bible verses to ignore and/or modernize while clinging to a hate-filled interpretation of LGBTQ that’s eons past being relevant.”
Adam told reporters on Saturday the decision was about the players’ Christian faith, not hate, according to the Tampa Bay Times.
“A lot of it comes down to faith, to like a faith-based decision,” he said. “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.
“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 said. “It’s just what we believe the lifestyle he’s encouraged us to live, for our good, not to withhold.”
The 30-year-old Christian noted that the players are not against anyone.
“But again, we love these men and women, we care about them, and we want them to feel safe and welcome here,” he said.
I promise you my intention was never to shame anyone. My greatest desire is to love and live like Jesus every day. A short article could never capture my whole heart on the subject. If you’re open to it, I’d love to sit down 1 on 1 and have an all encompassing discussion w/ you.
— Jason Adam (@Jason_Adam9) June 5, 2022
Tampa Bay manager Kevin Cash said he did not think the incident would divide the team because it came after discussions among players in recent weeks, according to The Associated Press.
“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 said.
“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.”
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