Jack Flaherty rips Tampa Rays players who didn’t wear Pride patch: ‘Absolute joke’

St. Louis Cardinals pitcher Jack Flaherty has publicly called out the Tampa Bay Rays players who have opted out of wearing an LGBTQ Pride month patch during a game. 

“[A]bsolute joke,” Flaherty wrote in a tweet on Sunday, quoting a tweet from TMZ Sports on the matter. 

Flaherty’s response comes as a group of Rays players such as pitchers Jason Adam, Jalen Beeks, Brooks Raley, Jeffrey Springs, and Ryan Thompson decline to wear an LGBTQ patch on their uniforms during the team’s annual Gay Pride Night celebration, citing it as a “faith-based” decision, according to Sports Illustrated. 

Rays’ pitcher Jason Adam told the Tampa Bay Times the decision was not judgemental.

“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,” Adams added. 

Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis (R) on Thursday vetoed funds for the MLB team’s new practice facility in Pasco County in response to the team publicly supporting gun control legislation in the wake of recent mass shootings in the U.S. 

In a statement, Rays manager Kevin Cash said that players’ opinions on the issue will affect them negatively, adding that the team has had discussions on the matter and emphasized “valuing the different perspectives,” SI.com reported. 

Rays outfielder Kevin Kiermaier, who wore the patch during the game, told the Times that creating an “environment of inclusivity” was important to him. 

“It’s one of those things, my parents taught me to love everyone as they are, go live your life, whatever your preferences are, go be you,” Kiermaier the newspaper. “I can’t speak for everyone who’s in here, obviously, but this is a family-friendly environment here at a big-league ball field … We just want everyone to feel welcomed and included and cheer us on. No matter what your views on anything are.”