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MLB pitcher Nick Anderson on Monday publicly defended five of his Tampa Bay Rays teammates who opted out of wearing rainbow-colored Pride Night logos on their uniforms and caps, citing religious reasons.
At least five players, including pitchers Jason Adam, Jalen Beeks, Brooks Raley, Jeffrey Springs, and Ryan Thompson, refused to wear the pride-themed logo on their person, according to a report from the Tampa Bay Times.
“It’s astonishing to me how people don’t understand that different beliefs exist,” Anderson blasted critics.
“And because you have different beliefs, in no way, shape, or form does that mean you look down on that individual or think they are lesser,” he added. “You can love everyone and have differing beliefs.”
It’s astonishing to me how people don’t understand that different beliefs exist. And because you have different beliefs, in no way, shape, or form does that mean you look down on that individual or think they are lesser. You can love everyone and have differing beliefs.
— Nick Anderson (@ando24_nick) June 6, 2022
Anderson posted another public message after receiving some backlash for defending his teammates.
“When I say differing beliefs, I’m talking about the people who believe everyone should wear something and if you don’t, you should burn and are a terrible person or whatever name you want to call them,” the athlete wrote. “I also was saying that just because you don’t wear maybe a said ‘patch’ doesn’t mean you think those people should burn and are terrible people. Come on everyone.”
Anderson went on to say that he believes people are born gay and condemned “homophobia,” hitting critics for twisting his words.
“I never once said I thought gay people weren’t born gay,” he wrote. “Or that homophobia was right. So to all of you who are trying to find any little thing to twist and make someone look bad for saying something that they never said, whatever you got going on in your life making you this way, just know that it will all be okay! Much love.”
— Nick Anderson (@ando24_nick) June 7, 2022
Adam, speaking on behalf of the other four players who opted out, said their decision was a difficult one and cited faith.
“It’s a hard decision,” Adam said. “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.”