Rays, Yankees join calls to end gun violence

May 26th, 2022

ST. PETERSBURG -- Two days after 19 children and two adults were killed in a mass shooting at an elementary school in Uvalde, Texas, the Rays -- along with the Yankees, their opponents on Thursday night -- took an organizational stand against gun violence.

In a statement, the Rays offered condolences to those affected by the recent mass shootings at a supermarket in Buffalo, N.Y., and at Uvalde’s Robb Elementary. The club made a passionate call for real change and a $50,000 donation to Everytown for Gun Safety’s Support Fund.

The Rays’ social media channels did not post anything about Thursday’s series opener against the Yankees, nor did the Yanks' accounts. Instead, both clubs opted to share facts throughout the game about the prevalence of gun violence in the United States.

“We couldn’t sit by idly, and [we] felt it was important to use our platform to raise awareness,” Rays president Matt Silverman said Thursday. “We’re tweeting out facts about gun violence with the hope that it leads to more conversation and dialogue. We’re not the ones with the solutions, but hopefully through greater conversation, we can end these types of tragedies.”

On Tuesday, an 18-year-old gunman was responsible for the deadliest shooting at an American grade school since another killed 20 children and six adults at Sandy Hook Elementary in Newtown, Conn., on Dec. 14, 2012. The latest mass shooting in this country, committed using an AR-style rifle purchased at a gun shop in Uvalde, came only 10 days after a gunman killed 10 Black shoppers and workers in a racist attack on a grocery store in Buffalo.

Major League Baseball issued a statement Tuesday on the tragedy in Uvalde, and several clubs issued statements and observed a moment of silence. Dodgers manager Dave Roberts also expressed his frustration and pain while calling for change on Wednesday. Before Thursday’s game, the Rays observed a moment of silence to honor all victims of gun violence.

Here is the Rays’ full statement:

“We all deserve to be safe -- in schools, grocery stores, places of worship, our neighborhoods, houses and America. The most recent mass shootings in Buffalo and Uvalde have shaken us to the core. The Tampa Bay Rays are mourning these heartbreaking tragedies that took the lives of innocent children and adults.

“This cannot become normal. We cannot become numb. We cannot look the other way. We all know, if nothing changes, nothing changes.

“The Rays organization stands committed to actionable change and has made a $50,000 commitment to Everytown for Gun Safety’s Support Fund. Everytown is the largest gun violence prevention organization in America. Rather than our usual game coverage on social media tonight, we’ve partnered with Everytown to amplify facts about gun violence in America.

“We understand that no single organization can solve this crisis alone, but working together, we can make an impact. We invite you to join us and do what you can, when you can, where you can -- because our lives depend on it.”