Editor’s note: This story contains details of a mass casualty event and gun violence.
The money was supposed to help fund a sports training and youth tournament complex in Pasco County in the Tampa Bay area. The hope was to make this facility the new player development facility for the Rays.
The governor announced the veto on Friday, giving the reason that he doesn’t “support giving taxpayer dollars to professional sports stadiums.”
However, sources told CNN that the Republican was unsure about the funding until the team began tweeting about the recent mass shootings and called for change. Additionally, the team donated money to Everytown, a charity that supports gun reform. DeSantis, who has been open about his opposition to gun reform, reportedly changed his mind about the funding then.
DeSantis told reporters on Friday that it would be “inappropriate to subsidize political activism of a private corporation.”
“Either way, it’s not appropriate, but we were not in a situation where use of tax dollars for a professional stadium would have been a prudent use,” DeSantis continued.
During the first game of the recent Yankees–Rays series on May 26, the two teams posted facts about gun violence in America throughout the entirety of the game to spread awareness. These are the tweets DeSantis reportedly references being “inappropriate.”
The Rays’ tweets were in response to the mass shooting at Robb Elementary School in Uvalde, Tex., on May 24 that left 21 people dead, including 19 children.
The Pasco County community was excited to have the facility come to their area, according to the chair of the Board of County Commissioners Kathryn Starkey. She is not aware for the official reasoning why DeSantis voted to veto the funding.
“Everyone I talked to in the community was excited about the possibility of the players development complex coming, but we’re going to continue to talk to the Rays and try to come to an agreement,” Starkey said to CNN. “This makes it more difficult.”
The facility also required $35 million from the Rays organization and local governments.