Christian conservative Franklin Graham
has praised the Tampa Bay Rays players who refused to wear an LGBTQ
Pride Month patch during the team's 16th annual Pride
According to various reports, at least
five players refused to wear the team's Pride cap and logos during
the June 4 home game against the Chicago White Sox.
The Tampa Bay Times reported
that pitchers Jason Adam, Jalen Beeks, Brooks Raley, Jeffrey Springs,
and Ryan Thompson instead wore the team's standard caps.
Adam told the outlet that the decision
to opt out was based on religion.
“A lot of it comes down to faith, to
like a faith-based decision,” Adam 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
“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,” he
In a Facebook post, Graham, the son of
the late televangelist Billy Graham and a vocal supporter of former
President Donald Trump, applauded the players for refusing to endorse
and celebrate “sin.”
“I appreciate these Tampa Bay Rays
players who said no to endorsing and celebrating sin during Saturday
night's game,” Graham wrote.
Graham prepared to have his head “chopped off” for opposing gay
Matt LaBarge, a self-described “avid
Rays fan,” told NPR that he was disappointed by Adam's remarks.
“By using the word 'behavior,' it's
implying that it's a choice. That's the talk of marginalization and I
couldn't agree with that,” he