A number of Tampa Bay Rays players declined to wear LGBTQ patches on their uniforms as part of the team's Pride Night celebration during Saturday's game against the Chicago White Sox.
The Tampa Bay Times reported that pitchers Jason Adam, Jalen Beeks, Brooks Raley, Jeffrey Springs and Ryan Thompson all declined to wear the patches.
In a statement, Adam addressed the matter on behalf of those players who declined the patches, saying it was a "faith-based" decision and not judgmental.
"So it's a hard decision," Adam said, according to the Tampa Bay Times. "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.
"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, 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."
Rays outfielder Kevin Kiermaier who did wear the patch, told the Times that his parents taught him to "love everyone as they , go live your life, whatever your preferences are, go be you."
"I can't speak for everyone who's in here, obviously, but this is a family-friendly environment here at a big league ballfield," Kiermaier said."We just want everyone to feel welcomed and included and cheer us on. No matter what your views on anything are."
Ray manager Kevin Cash said the players' decision not to wear the patches did not create any problems in the clubhouse.
"First and foremost, I think the organization has done a really good thing to have Pride Nights supporting our gay community to come out and have a nice night at the ballpark," Cash said postgame via ESPN.
"Impressed that our players have had those conversations and we want to support our players that choose to wear or choose not to wear to the best of our capabilities."