Baseball teams from the Tampa Bay Rays and the New York Yankees took an unusual step Thursday and revamped their Twitter accounts to spread the facts about gun violence in the wake of recent mass shootings in Buffalo and Waldale, Texas.
Instead of posting information about pitching performances or the latest home remedies, both teams’ tweets featured facts of gun violence during their game in St. Petersburg, Florida.
Rays Communications staff led the fact-finding and verification, with the initiative aided by Jason Zillow, vice president of communications for the Yankees, who was in St. Petersburg for a four-game series with other members of the Yankees. Communications team. Each fact was followed by a quote.
“There is something bigger than baseball,” said Mr. Zillow. “It’s good that we can use our platform to share important facts with everyone, no matter who you are rooting for or whether you are a sports fan at all.”
The Yankees’s Twitter account has 3.6 million subscribers. Rays has about 650,000. The teams also posted the facts on their Instagram. The Yankees have 2.9 million followers on this platform, while the Rays have 430,000.
One point noted that firearms were the leading cause of death for American children and adolescents in 2020, according to a study published by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Another noted that according to a study published by the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs, about 12 veterans die each day by committing suicide by firearms.
Rays, whose team colors are blue and white, changed the background banner of their Twitter account to orange, which is often used for gun violence awareness and prevention, with a banner that read, “End Gun Violence.” Brooks Reilly, Pitcher for Rays, attended Wawald School where the shooting took place.
Rays said they donated $ 50,000 to Everytown for Gun Safety, an organization that helps prevent gun violence, and said they were working with the group to “establish the facts about gun violence in America.”
“The latest mass shootings in Buffalo and Uvalde have shocked us,” Rays said in a statement. “The rays of Tampa Bay mourn the heartbreaking tragedies that have claimed the lives of innocent children and adolescents.”
A gunman killed 21 people, including 19 children, at a primary school on Tuesday. It came less than two weeks after an armed man in Buffalo killed 10 people in a supermarket during a racist attack.
Zilo said the Yankees will expand their gun violence efforts at their next residence, scheduled to begin Tuesday, specifically to address gun violence in the Bronx, where the team plays.
“As citizens of the world, it is difficult to process these shootings and return to normal routine,” Zilo added in a text message. “One night we wanted to reflect and pay attention to statistics, which are much more important and weighty than average.
An hour after the Yankees first announced that they would be posting gun violence messages and not game details, the item had more than 70,000 likes, which Zillow said was the highest rate among any post.
The Yankees took steps to address past mass shootings led by then-owner George Steinburner, the family patriarch who still owns the team run by his son, Hal Steinbrenner. In 2007, the Steinbrenners donated $ 1 million to the Virginia Tech University Memorial Fund after a mass shooting there, and the following year the Yankees played an exhibition game at the school’s Blacksburg, W., campus.