By DAVID BRANDT, AP Sports Journalist
The New York Yankees and Tampa Bay Rays used their social media accounts during Thursday night’s game between the teams to spread information about how gun violence affects American life.
This decision was made in response to recent mass shootings in Uvalde, Texas, and Buffalo. Several notable sports figures — including Golden State Warriors coach Steve Kerr — have used their platforms over the past few days to advocate for action on gun violence.
MLB social media accounts are typically used during games to show video clips, relay baseball stats, or trade witty jokes with other accounts about the action on the field. On Thursday, that was replaced with messages such as “Guns were the leading cause of death for American children and adolescents in 2020.”
Both accounts then posted a link to the source of their information.
“Instead of giving coverage and in conjunction with the Tampa Bay Rays, we will use our channels to offer facts about the impacts of gun violence,” the Yankees said in a statement. “The devastating events that have taken place in Uvalde, Buffalo and countless other communities across our country are intolerable tragedies.
The Rays also released a statement, saying the recent shootings “cannot become normal.”
“We all deserve to be safe — in schools, grocery stores, places of worship, our neighborhoods, our homes, and America. The most recent mass shootings in Buffalo and Uvalde have shaken us to the core. The Tampa Bay Rays mourn these heartbreaking tragedies that claimed the lives of innocent children and adults.
“This cannot become normal. We cannot become numb. We can’t look away. We all know that if nothing changes, nothing changes.
The Uvalde school shooting was particularly personal for Rays reliever Brooks Raley, who is originally from Uvalde and still has family who live in the town. He attended the school where the shooting took place.
The NBA’s Miami Heat also took a different approach to raising awareness and calling for change after the Uvalde shooting. Ahead of Game 5 of the Eastern Conference Finals against the Boston Celtics on Wednesday night, the Heat held a moment of silence in memory of those killed – followed by a statement urging fans to call the legislators and to demand change.
“The Heat urges you to contact your state’s senators by calling 202-224-3121 to leave a message asking for their support for common sense gun laws,” public address announcer Michael Baiamonte read to the fans, some of whom cheered as he spoke. .
The moment was also aired as part of ESPN’s telecast of the game.
AP Basketball Writer Tim Reynolds in Miami contributed to this story.
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