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Florida Gov. Vetoes $35M for Rays Facility After Team Calls For Gun Reform

  • Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis vetoed $35 million facility for the Tampa Bay Rays.
  • The move came in response to the team's gun reform advocacy.
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The Tampa Bay Rays stood up for gun violence prevention in the wake of the horrific shootings in Uvalde, Texas, and Buffalo, New York, and their governor did not approve.

Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis has vetoed legislation that would have provided $35 million for a youth sports facility tagged as a possible spring training site for the Tampa Bay Rays.

  • On May 26, the Rays and New York Yankees’ Twitter accounts tweeted facts about gun violence in lieu of updates on the game against one another.
  • “We all deserve to be safe — in schools, grocery stores, places of worship, our neighborhoods, houses, and America,” the Rays tweeted. “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.”
  • The Rays also donated $50,000 to the gun reform advocacy group Everytown for Gun Safety.

Many other teams joined the call for gun reform, including another Florida team, the Miami Heat.

“Companies are free to engage or not engage in whatever discourse they want, but clearly, it’s inappropriate to be doing taxpayer dollars for professional sports stadiums,” said DeSantis. “It’s also inappropriate to subsidize political activism of a private corporation. So I think either way, it’s not appropriate.”

Team on the Move?

The Rays could potentially seek a much larger sum from the Florida government, should they seek to build a new stadium in the state. The team is considering sites in St. Petersburg and Ybor City.

In 2018, the Rays announced plans for a $892 million stadium in Ybor, but later quashed those plans over a financing dispute with local officials.

One factor is that the team believes their new stadium should have a roof, which will add an estimated $90 million to the cost.

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