The baseball teams raised awareness on gun violence in America and called for change in the wake of the shooting at a Texas school.
Tampa Bay Rays and the New York Yankees fans who were following updates on Twitter were in for a shock as both accounts shared gun violence stats instead of updates about the game. This came just a day after the shooting at Robb Elementary School in Uvalde, Texas, and a week after the shooting in Buffalo where a white nationalist killed 10 people at a grocery store in a predominantly Black neighborhood. Both baseball teams used their accounts to raise awareness on gun violence as opposed to sharing match updates on Twitter. "In lieu of game coverage and in collaboration with the Tampa Bay Rays, we will be using our channels to offer facts about the impacts of gun violence," read a post by the New York Yankees on its Twitter account. "The devastating events that have taken place in Uvalde, Buffalo, and countless other communities across our nation are tragedies that are intolerable."
Tampa Bay Rays emphasized the importance of people feeling safe and called for change. "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," read the team's official note. "This cannot become normal. We cannot become numb. We cannot look the other way. We all know, if nothing changes, nothing changes."
Every three hours, a young Black man dies by gun homicide.— New York Yankees (@Yankees) May 26, 2022
Some of the stats pointed to how much of a problem gun violence has become in America. "Firearms were the leading cause of death for American children and teens in 2020," read one tweet. Another read: "Each year, more than 4,100 Latinx people die from gun violence in the U.S. and 13,300 are shot and wounded." This stat was particularly important in the context of the Texas shooting considering the majority of the victims were Latinx people.
The team also announced it was making a financial contribution to support gun safety. "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, " it stated.
Many in the world of sports have made their voice heard in the aftermath of the school shooting in which 19 children and two teachers were killed. Steve Kerr, head coach of the Golden State Warriors, called out politicians for not doing enough. "I'm not going to talk about basketball. Any basketball questions don't matter. We have children murdered at school. When are we going to do something? I'm tired. I'm so tired of getting up here and offering condolences to the devastated families that are out there. I'm so tired. Excuse me. I'm sorry. I'm tired of the moments of silence. Enough!" he said, slamming the desk.
Steve Kerr on today's tragic shooting in Uvalde, Texas. pic.twitter.com/lsJ8RzPcmC— Golden State Warriors (@warriors) May 24, 2022
He called out senators who refused to sign gun control measures. "There's 50 senators right now who refuse to vote on HR8, which is a background check rule that the House passed a couple years ago. It's been sitting there for two years. And there's a reason they won't vote on it: to hold onto power," he said. "So I'm fed up. I've had enough. We're going to play the game tonight. But I want every person here, every person listening to this, to think about your own child or grandchild, or mother or father, sister, brother. How would you feel if this happened to you today?"
In lieu of game coverage and in collaboration with @Yankees, we will use our channels to offer facts about the impacts of gun violence.— Tampa Bay Rays (@RaysBaseball) May 26, 2022
The devastating events that took place in Uvalde, Buffalo and countless other communities across our nation are tragedies that are intolerable.
Access to a gun triples the risk of death by suicide.— Tampa Bay Rays (@RaysBaseball) May 27, 2022
If you're struggling to cope with grief, and need help, please reach out to Crisis response at 1-800-203-CARE (2273)