Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis (R) on Friday confirmed his intention to veto a bill with $35 million earmarked for a Tampa Bay Rays facility. Last week, the team went on an anti-gun tirade on social media, although DeSantis made it clear that he does not support giving taxpayer dollars to professional sports stadiums, “period.”
During Friday’s press conference, a reporter asked DeSantis about the reports indicating the governor’s intention to veto the measure, inquiring whether the decision had anything to do with the recent political statements made by the team. As Breitbart News reported, the Rays teamed up with the New York Yankees, temporarily devoting their Twitter feeds to advancing anti-gun sentiments. The Rays took it a step further, announcing their intention to commit $50,000 to the Michael Bloomberg-affiliated Everytown for Gun Safety’s Support Fund.
“I don’t support giving taxpayer dollars to professional sports stadiums, period,” DeSantis said to applause. “That was just the decision that was going to be made.”
DeSantis continued, making it clear that companies are “free to engage or not engage with whatever discourse they want.” However, he made it abundantly clear that he finds it wholly inappropriate to “subsidize political activism” of any particular corporation.
“But clearly, it’s inappropriate to be doing tax dollars for [a] professional sports stadium — it’s also inappropriate to subsidize political activism of a private corporation,” DeSantis said, concluding that “either way,” it is “not appropriate.”
“We were not in a situation where use of tax dollars for a professional stadium would have been a prudent use, and again, you know, I set that limit as to what we were going to spend and we made sure that we were doing [that],” he continued.
“What we try to do with these — with these projects, you know, is doing things that really are benefiting the community as a whole, more so than maybe one specific interest or one specific company,” he added.