Rays, Yankees use social media to spread gun violence awareness

ByAgnes E. Utt

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The tweets come after the mass shooting in Uvalde, Texas, that left 19 fourth graders and two teachers dead and the Topps grocery shooting in Buffalo, N.Y.

ST. PETERSBURG, Fla. — Thursday night’s game at Tropicana Field started off a little different following Tuesday’s mass shooting at an elementary school in Uvalde, Texas. 

The teams held a moment of silence to honor the 19 children and two teachers killed at Robb Elementary, those who were killed in the Buffalo grocery store shooting and other recent shootings like the California church attack. 

Not only did they honor the fallen in the shootings, but both the Rays and Yankees also shared facts about gun violence on their official Twitter accounts instead of the normal game coverage. 

“In lieu of game coverage and in collaboration with @Yankees, we will use our channel to offer facts about the impact of gun violene,” the Tampa Bay Rays said in a tweet. “The devastating events that took place in Uvalde, Buffalo and countless other communities across our nation are tragedies that are intolerable.”

RELATED: Here are the names of those killed in the Texas shooting who have been identified so far

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Following that first tweet, both teams shared gun violence facts with sources to back it up in Twitter threads. The Rays shared, “Access to a gun triples the risk of death by suicide,” according to a report from American College of Physicians. And, “Firearms were the leading cause of death for American children and teens in 2020,” according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, among a thread of many other facts about gun violence.

The Yankees added, “58 percent of American adults or someone they care for have experienced gun violence,” according to a survey. And, “Every day, more than 110 Americans are killed with guns, and more than 200 are shot and injured,” according to the CDC and Healthcare Cost and Utilization Project.

Before the game, Rays center fielder Kevin Kiermaier said the team is excited to play against the Yankees this season. 

“They got a lot of talent over there, we know our work will be cut out for us the next four days,” Kiermaier said, “but this is what you play in the big leagues for.”

Rays starting pitcher Jeffrey Springs shared the same sentiment, stating any time they play in division, it’s a big game. 

“We look forward to the challenge and it should be a good four-game set,” Spring said.

The Rays would go on to lose against the Yankees, 7-2. They meet again at 7:10 p.m. on Friday.

The two major league baseball teams are not alone in the sports world who have spoken out against gun violence this week. Golden State Warriors head coach Steve Kerr made an impassioned plea to lawmakers following the mass shooting at Robb Elementary. 

“When are we gonna do something?” Kerr shouted in Tuesday night’s pre-game press conference between the Warriors and Dallas Mavericks. 

RELATED: Warriors coach Steve Kerr urges action on gun bill HR 8: What is it?