Gay baseball pro shouts ‘hate’ after controversy over Ray’s Pride uniform


Gay baseball pro shouts 'hate' after controversy over Ray's Pride uniform

  • Some Tampa Bay Rays players refused to don Pride Night attire on Saturday, peeling off rainbow patches.
  • Bryan Ruby, the only gay active professional baseball player, called it “sad and frustrating.”
  • “Discrimination and hate have a voice in baseball, and you saw it in Tampa,” Ruby told Insider.

After a handful of Tampa Bay Rays players refused to wear rainbow-colored uniforms for Saturday’s Pride Night, the only active gay player in professional baseball said, “Discrimination and hatred have a voice in baseball and you saw it in Tampa. “

“We’ve seen a lot of teams selling rainbow merchandise and having Pride Nights, which is great, but they actually need to support their players,” Bryan Ruby said of the Tampa Bay situation, which he described as “sad and frustrating.”

“We get a night at the stadium to be ourselves all year round and it was just an indication that a lot of people still think we just don’t belong there and that we’re not welcome, and even in that.” Pride Night, we’ We’re still second-class citizens,” he said.

The Rays hosted their 16th annual Pride Night at Tropicana Field in St. Petersburg, Florida on Saturday.

All players received Pride Night uniforms with rainbow-colored logos, including caps with a rainbow “TB” and a rainbow sunbeam on their right jersey sleeves, the Tampa Bay Times reported.

Some players, including pitchers Jason Adam, Jalen Beeks, Brooks Raley, Jeffrey Springs and Ryan Thompson, opted out of wearing the Pride Night attire, donning their regular hats and stripping the sunburst logo off their sleeves, the Times reported .

Adam told reporters the players’ decision was based on religious beliefs and did not want to encourage the “behaviour” of LGBTQ people, the Times reported.

Ruby wondered why the stadium’s compliance officer, whose job it is to ensure players are wearing their uniforms correctly, failed to act.

“If a player flatly refused to wear the number 42 on Jackie Robinson Day, they would undoubtedly be fined,” he said, adding that none of the Rays players have faced disciplinary action because he painted his uniforms with rainbow logos.

A rainbow starburst logo on a Tampa Bay Rays uniform for the team's Pride Night.

A rainbow starburst logo was added to the Tampa Bay Rays uniforms for the team’s Pride Night.

Julio Aguilar/Getty Images

Ruby, a 26-year-old who has been playing soccer since he was 6, publicly came out as gay during his 2021 stint with the Salem-Keizer Volcanoes, an independent team that was once a subsidiary of the San Francisco Giants.

He had already been out with his friends and family for five years, but he said it took him so long to come out to baseball because he’s never been able to actively point to anyone in Major League Baseball and to see someone like him.

“I lived a double life,” he told Insider. “I was a different person at home than on the pitch.”

MLB has never had an out-gay active player in its 146-year history.

Ruby said he was scared of losing his job when he first came out, although he added that he’s started proudly tucking rainbow laces into his cleats.

“Every day at work I would lace up my cleats and put on my ball cap and be completely in the closet and eventually I just got sick of it,” he added. “I was no longer ashamed of who I was and I was proud of who I was.”

Ruby co-founded Proud To Be In Baseball in 2021 with Michael Holland and Sam Culwell – two former baseball players who came out as gay and bisexual respectively while playing and reached out to Ruby after he came out.

The nonprofit’s website says its goal is “to advocate for the next generation of LGBTQ people in baseball” while providing resources and raising awareness.

“Nobody’s really speaking out for LGBTQ people in baseball, and we’ve started to do that,” Ruby said, adding that there’s been interest from players — and even some MLB teams — to work together to promote inclusion.

Bryan Ruby

Ruby played for the Salem-Kaiser Volcanoes in 2021 when he made his first public appearance.

David Green

Ruby said he took time off from baseball to focus on Nonprofit and Pride Month, but added he’ll be back on the diamond later this summer. Ruby said he hopes LGTBQ players will eventually gain enough broad support that advocacy groups like his will become obsolete.

He said he hopes the Tampa Bay situation doesn’t discourage other teams from wearing rainbow logos.

He added that he hopes teams will go a step further, to “think more carefully about what they can actually do to support the gay baseball players that they have in their organizations who aren’t comfortable enough yet.” to show who they are”.

“Who you date,” he said, “has nothing to do with whether you can hit a 95-mile fastball.”

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