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2 major league teams use their social media to raise awareness about gun violence

The Tampa Bay Rays and the New York Yankees used their Twitter accounts to increase awareness about gun violence instead of covering their game Thursday night.
Sheldon Cooper
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SOPA Images/LightRocket via Getty Images
The Tampa Bay Rays and the New York Yankees used their Twitter accounts to increase awareness about gun violence instead of covering their game Thursday night.

Professional sports teams use their social media accounts during games to give score updates, recap exciting plays and keep fans up to date on their favorite athletes.

The Tampa Bay Rays and the New York Yankees used their social media accounts in a different way Thursday night. Both teams collaborated to use their Twitter accounts to tweet out facts about gun violence. In a post on the Tampa Bay Rays' account, the team stated, "In lieu of game coverage and in collaboration with @Yankees, we will use our channels to offer facts about the impacts of gun violence. The devastating events that took place in Uvalde, Buffalo and countless other communities across our nation are tragedies that are intolerable."

Throughout the night, both teams' accounts have shared facts like "Firearms were the leading cause of death for American children and teens in 2020," and "Every day, more than 110 Americans are killed with guns, and more than 200 are shot and injured." The New York Yankees' account has over 3 million followers, and they are one of the top five most followed U.S. sports teams on Twitter. Fans were not receptive to the idea and replied to the tweets with criticism that the teams weren't covering the game.

The sports world has started to make its voice heard in the debate over gun safety. Steve Kerr, head coach of the Golden State Warriors, recently used his time during a news conference before Game 4 of the Western Conference finals to ask, "When are we going to do something?" He slammed his fists on the table as he yelled, "I'm tired. I am so tired of getting up here and offering condolences to the devastated families that are out there. I am so tired of the — excuse, I am sorry — I am tired of the moments of silence. Enough!"

Just before tipoff of Game 5 of the Eastern Conference finals between the Boston Celtics and the Miami Heat on Wednesday night, the Heat basketball team made an announcement that urged fans to call their senators to advocate for gun reform laws.

Copyright 2022 NPR. To see more, visit https://www.npr.org.

Matt Adams
Matt Adams is an Audience Engagement Strategist at NPR, where he is always thinking of how a broadcast company can do more on the internet. His focus is on social media strategy and how to connect NPR with new audiences in creative ways, from community building to social audio.

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