Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis (R) approved a new state budget Thursday, but vetoed funds for a Pasco County baseball practice facility that was to be used by the Tampa Bay Rays, a move that comes shortly after the MLB organization tweeted in support of gun control last week.
DeSantis, an avid supporter of gun rights, vetoed the funding proposed by state Sen. Danny Burgess (R) that was widely expected to be signed into the state’s budget a week after the Rays showed support for gun control measures.
The team posted about gun control over social media channels on May 26, in the wake of deadly shootings in Uvalde, Texas, and Buffalo, N.Y., in lieu of covering its game against the New York Yankees.
Rays pitcher Brooks Raley is from Uvalde, a town of just 16,000, where 19 elementary school students and two teachers were killed by an 18-year-old gunman.
“It’s just a tragedy. Obviously growing up there and going to that school, it kind of hits home,” Raley said last week, according to The Associated Press. “It’s small and a close-knit community, so it’s obviously tough.”
The Rays partnered with Everytown for Gun Safety, a nonprofit that advocates for gun control and education, to share facts about gun violence.
“When an assault weapon is used in a mass shooting, it results in six times as many people shot than when other guns are used,” the Rays tweeted, citing Everytown, among other facts.
When asked about the vetoed funds during a Friday press conference, DeSantis said he said he doesn’t “support giving taxpayer dollars for sports stadiums, period.”
“At the end of the day, that was just the decision that was going to be made,” DeSantis was quoted as saying in a previous report. “Now, companies are free to engage or not engage with whatever discourse they want, but clearly it’s inappropriate to be doing tax dollars for professional sports stadium, it’s also inappropriate to subsidize political activism of a private corporation. So either way it’s not appropriate. We were not in a situation where use of tax dollars for a professional stadium would’ve been a prudent use.”