Yankees and Rays Skip Social Media Coverage of Thursday’s Game to Share Gun-Violence Facts

The MLB teams have partnered with Everytown for Gun Safety in the wake of the Uvalde school shooting

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Ahead of Thursday’s game, the New York Yankees and Tampa Bay Rays announced that their social-media channels will broadcast information about gun violence in place of their usual game coverage.

Their partnership comes days after a gunman massacred 19 students and two adults at an elementary school in Uvalde, Texas, the most deadly school shooting since Sandy Hook in 2012. The tragedy took place roughly a week after 13 people were shot by a racist extremist at a Buffalo, New York grocery store.

“In lieu of game coverage and in collaboration with the Tampa Bay Rays, we will be using our channels to offer facts about the impact of gun violence,” the official Yankees account posted on Twitter. “The devastating events that have taken place in Uvalde, Buffalo and countless other communities across our nation are tragedies that are intolerable.”

Citing a commitment to “actionable change,” the Rays also announced a $50,000 donation to Everytown’s Support Fund.

“We all deserve to be safe – in schools, grocery stores, places of worship, our neighborhoods, houses and America,” began their statement, referencing locations of recent mass shootings. “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.”

“This cannot become normal. We cannot become numb. We cannot look the other way,” the statement continued. “We all know, if nothing changes, nothing changes.”

As the teams face off in Tampa, Florida, their Twitter accounts have posted roughly one fact every 10 minutes, concerning the number of Americans who die in shootings each day, the percentage of Americans whose lives have been touched by gun violence, and statistics on gun deaths by racial group.

The teams’ actions follow in the footsteps of Golden State Warriors coach Steve Kerr, who used Tuesday’s pregame press conference to make an impassioned speech calling for universal background checks and condemning lawmakers’ inaction.

“I’m not gonna talk about basketball – nothing’s happened with our team in the last 6 hours,” Kerr said, explaining his refusal to take questions about the game. “We’re gonna start the same way tonight. Any basketball questions don’t matter.”

He continued, “We’re gonna play the game tonight, but I want every person here, every person listening to this to think about your own child or grandchild or mother or father, sister, brother, how would you feel if this happened to you today? We can’t get numb to this, we can’t sit here and just read about it and go, ‘Well, moment of silence. Go Dubs. Come on, Mavs, let’s go,’” he said in reference to the game.

“We are being held hostage by 50 senators in Washington who refuse to even vote on it despite what we, the American people, want. They won’t vote on it because they want to hold onto their own power. It’s pathetic – I’ve had enough.”