A Pinellas County, Florida, sheriff blasted the Tampa Bay Rays for its “reckless” tweet about the death of Breonna Taylor.
Last Friday, the team jumped to Twitter to weigh in on the Black Lives Matter cause célèbre of Breonna Taylor, who died during a police action in Louisville, Kentucky, in March.
The team called for the arrest of the police officers involved in the March 13 incident.
Today is Opening Day, which means it's a great day to arrest the killers of Breonna Taylor
— Tampa Bay Rays (@RaysBaseball) July 24, 2020
But Pinellas Sheriff Bob Gualtieri found the tweet troubling, and he took the extra step of having a conversation with team president, Matt Silverman, about the tweet.
Sheriff Gualtieri called the tweet “wrong and improper.”
“To turn a baseball event into a political event is uncalled for,” Gualtieri told the the Tampa Bay Times. “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.”
Gualtieri added that the team does not “know all the facts” of the case. Further, for a team in Florida to talk about the incident was inflammatory for local law enforcement.
“The killing of Breonna Taylor was wrong and avoidable. We have policies at the Pinellas County Sheriff’s Office that would not allow that situation to occur. The facts show that Louisville officers acted under a judge’s warrant and were within department protocols,” Gualtieri told the paper.
The sheriff was not the only Florida law enforcement official to criticize the team. St. Petersburg Police Chief Anthony Holloway also told the Times that he was “very concerned” about the tweet.
“I called the Rays organization, and we had a long discussion,” Holloway admitted.
The team refused to make a statement about the conversations they’ve had with law enforcement officials.
Follow Warner Todd Huston on Facebook at: facebook.com/Warner.Todd.Huston.