It’s called freedom of speech, and really just “morale.”
A Florida sheriff feels as if there is no room for politics in baseball and slams the Tampa Bay Ray’s for its recent stance on Breonna Taylor, the 26-year-old black woman who was killed by Louisville, Kentucky police during a no-knock warrant.
On July 24, the MLB team weighed in via Twitter with a post that called on the arrest of the police officers involved.
“Today is Opening Day, which means it’s a great day to arrest the killers of Breonna Taylor,” the team tweeted. The post garnered over 358,000 likes and more than 105,000 retweets.
The tweet angered Bob Gualtieri, the top cop of Pinellas County. He called out Rays president Matt Silverman to share his ire, the Tampa Bay Times reports.
“To turn a baseball event into a political event is uncalled for,” Gualtieri told the newspaper. “It’s just wrong, and it’s improper. It’s just reckless. It’s throwing gasoline on the fire, and it didn’t need to happen.”
He also said it was inappropriate considering the fact the team officials “don’t know all the facts” surrounding the case that is still under investigation by the FBI and the Kentucky Attorney General’s office, reports the New York Post.
Reports say Silverman told Gualtieri that the tweet wasn’t authorized by upper management, and now the sheriff plans to look into whether his agency will continue helping the team with traffic control and security. However, the St. Petersburg police usually handle those matters, but Pinellas County deputies guard a room in the stadium where concession money is kept.
Gualtieri is not alone, chief of St. Petersburg police, Anthony Holloway, was also offended by the post, saying he was “very concerned” and disagreed with the message.
“I called the Rays organization, and we had a long discussion,” Holloway told the newspaper in a statement. “However, this one ‘tweet’ will not impact our commitment as a professional agency to provide a secure environment for fans at future Rays games.”
Team officials declined to comment on the “private conversations” citing team policies but did say they are grateful for the dialogue they continue to have with Sheriff Gualtieri and other law enforcement personnel.