Following the horrific shooting in Orlando last weekend, athletes and athletic teams in Florida are showing their support for the victims, the survivors and the LGBTQ community at large.
On Friday night, the Tampa Bay Rays held Pride Night, an annual event to celebrate LGBTQ Pride Month. At the game, the team shared an emotional tribute from Major League Baseball (MLB) commissioner Rob Manfred.
"The LGBT community is part of the baseball community," Manfred said. "That community stands together as we try and heal from this devastating moment in U.S. history.
The Rays are working to support those affected by this awful tragedy in a variety of ways, including auctioning off signed hats, donating ticketing and parking sales and holding blood drives.
That same night, Orlando City Soccer Club (SC), the city’s professional soccer team, wore special jerseys featuring a rainbow heart and rainbow wristbands. The crowd also waved rainbow flags throughout the game.
Prior to those matches, U.S. Soccer released a powerful video reacting to the horrific shooting.
Several other Florida teams, including the Orlando Magic, Lions, Predators, Solar Bears and Pride took action.
“The Orlando Magic donated $100,000 to the victims. Rich and Helen DeVos gave $400,000,” the Orlando Sentinel reported. “Orlando City soccer donated $100,000. The Tampa Bay Rays raised $300,000 between ticket sales and donations at the game they dedicated to Orlando on Friday night.”
The teams also joined together to sell special #OrlandoUnited shirts and posters that will benefit Orlando’s OneOrlando Fund.
It’s not just the teams getting involved. On Thursday, U.S. Men's National Soccer team captain Michael Bradley wore a rainbow armband at a game in Seattle. The game also opened with a moment of silence for those lost. Other athletes, including LeBron James, Michael Sam and Shaquille O'Neal, reacted to the tragedy on social media.
As our community continues to recover from the Pulse tragedy, LGBTQ leaders in Orlando have come together to form The LGBTQ Alliance and have partnered to create The Heal Orlando Project. HRC encourages everyone to visit http://healorlando.org/ to access support or lend a hand.