Wednesday, June 08, 2022

Confession: I don't care about rainbows


This perhaps make me an outsider in the LGBTQ+ community. Even before the concept of rainbow-washing was a thing, I was not especially drawn to companies/entities that displayed a rainbow flag. How did I know if it was genuine? What did the display of the flag even mean in terms of actions taken (or not); what did support/allyship look like? 

And so, I am not particularly disturbed that some players for the Tampa Bay Rays chose not to wear rainbow patches and rainbow logo hats during their recent Pride Night. Five players said it conflicted with their religious beliefs. While, yes, their discourse of conflict with beliefs and not judging/being welcoming is contradictory, that is not new when it comes to this issue. 

The patch/hat was an opt-in for players. Now we know more about the five players who chose not to participate. They don't support LGBT rights because they feel it conflicts with their religion. Ok. 

I am more interested in what the players who chose to wear the Pride gear feel and do. I am more interested in what the Rays as an organization do. 

I am currently finishing(ish) research/writing on the sports closet/coming out discourses. One of the issues that I take up is how sport organizations capitalize on things like Pride Nights and "support" for athletes who come out, but that such actions are not especially progressive nor do they represent how gay players themselves experience their workplaces (in the case of professional sports) on a daily basis. [Think about Raiders player Carl Nassib who had to play under Jon Gruden.]

Five players on one MLB team made it clear that they don't support gay rights. That does not offer us special insight into the Rays, the MLB, or professional sports. Some people don't want to be associated with gay things. This is not shocking. Given everything else happening in sports around gender, sexuality, race, I don't even find this incident especially dismaying. 

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