DeSantis Gives Tampa Rays A Slap On The Wrist For Gun Control Tweets

(Photo by Ronda Churchill/Getty Images)

Nicole Silverio Media Reporter
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Republican Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis vetoed $35 million in funding to the Tampa Bay Rays sports training and youth tournament facility in Pasco County Thursday after touting their support of a gun control advocacy group.

The Major League Baseball (MLB) team posted a statement claiming a $50,000 commitment to Everytown for Gun Safety’s Support Fund, a pro-gun control advocacy group. The team posted the statement two days after the Uvalde shooting inside Robb Elementary School, which left 19 children and 2 fourth-grade teachers dead.

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

The funding, introduced by Republican Florida state Sen. Danny Burgess, was expected to be in the state’s 2022-23 Fiscal Budget, which the governor signed into law Thursday afternoon, The Hill reported.

The governor defended his veto calling it “inappropriate” to “subsidize” a private corporation’s political activism at a Friday press conference. (RELATED: ‘Treated On A Pedestal’: Gov. DeSantis Says Disney’s ‘Wokeness’ Will ‘Destroy This Country’)

“Companies are free to engage and not engage with whatever discourse they want, but clearly, it’s inappropriate to be giving tax dollars to a professional sports stadium,” he said. “It’s inappropriate to subsidize political activism of a private corporation. We were not in a situation where a use of tax dollars for a private stadium would have been a prudent use.”

Pasco County lobbied for the facility that would provide “community facilities serving general recreation, youth/amateur/professional baseball and softball participation” and hoped the Rays would move their spring training operations to the location, CNN reported.

DeSantis had reportedly been wary of passing the funding suspecting it would provide little to no economic benefit and may upset residents in Port Charlotte, where the Rays’ current spring training facilities are located, according to CNN. A source told both Outkick and CNN that the donation to Everytown sealed the governor’s decision to oppose the funding.

The Florida governor similarly revoked Disney’s special tax status granted by the 1967 Reedy Creek Improvement Act, which gave the company the same authority and responsibility as a county government. He made the move after Disney’s uproar over the state’s legislation prohibiting classroom discussion of sexual orientation and gender identity in grades K-3.