Marco Rubio asks Tampa Bay Rays to rethink donation supporting ‘radical left’s agenda’
Marco Rubio raises a warning flag for the Venezuelan elections. Image via AP.

Health care center that received donation says it's not providing puberty blockers, as Senator says in letter.

Sen. Marco Rubio is warning the Tampa Bay Rays that the team has donated to a health care provider that’s engaged in “extremely harmful and irreversible practices” because of puberty-blocking medications it’s providing to young people.

The issue of transgender youth has become a rallying issue for the Right. But Metro Inclusive Health (MIH), the recipients of the Rays’ $20,000 donation last June, said that the Senator is misinformed about the services that the federally qualified health center lookalike is providing.

“We do not, nor have we ever provided puberty blockers to any patient,” Lorraine Langlois, CEO of MIH, based in Tampa Bay, wrote when contacted by Florida Politics. She invited the Republican, now up for re-election, to a tour. MIH, she said, “provides over 100 essential, life-saving services, and equitable health care to a highly diverse population of over 30,000 individuals annually.”

But puberty-blocking medications are not one of them, she said.

Rubio’s letter to the Rays’ Principal Owner Stuart Sternberg, dated Wednesday, cites an Aug. 31 article in the National Review about Major League Baseball (MLB) teams’ “unseemly support for youth gender transitions.” And the Tampa Bay Rays’ donation to MIH gets the team listed among 19 other MLB teams that have “promoted organizations that are involved in child gender transitions.”

The National Review article links to a MIH website page, but the only reference to medical treatment on the site Saturday is a line that says, “letters of recommendation for HRT.” That stands for “hormone replacement therapy,” which can be used to feminize or masculinize hormones that influence fat distribution and other body attributes. The page also refers to support groups for teens, ages 13 to 17.

MIH, Rubio writes, is “also in the business of prescribing gender transition hormones for minors” that have not been approved by the Food and Drug Administration, Rubio writes.

“The donation made to MIH indicates a lack of awareness about the nature of the organization’s activities and the long-term damage it can have on the very people your foundation and MIH claim to serve,” the letter states, also noting that Sweden and Finland have “sharply curtailed” eligibility for pediatric gender transition with puberty blockers.

Rubio’s call for the Rays to rethink its support landed in a follow-up article in the National Review and the Daily Caller.

“I was shocked by this decision,” Rubio says, according to a statement on his website. “Baseball is America’s sport and most Americans don’t want their sports teams pushing the radical left’s agenda.”

Reached Saturday, the Tampa Bay Rays’ spokeswoman, De Anna Sheffield Ward, said the team would not be commenting on Rubio’s assertion at this time. But Stephen Gaskill, president of the Florida LGBTQ+ Democratic Caucus, said the letter shows Rubio is imitating a tactic Gov. Ron DeSantis and other MAGA Republicans have adopted: attacking LGBTQ people for votes.

Rubio is in a tight race with Democrat U.S. Rep. Val Demings.

“It’s so random for him to go after the Rays for a donation they’ve made,” Gaskill said. “They are a private organization and there’s no reason for Marco Rubio to get involved. It just underscores what a fraud he is as a public official.”

MIH’s website shows its mission is providing, “HIV services, medical care, social activities, support groups, counseling, health and wellness programs, psychiatric medication management and more” for the insured, uninsured and underinsured. It’s open to the whole community, regardless of ethnicity, religion, sexual orientation, gender identity, age or economic status, the website says.

“This generous gift from the Tampa Bay Rays has made a tremendous impact on our ability to deliver health and social services to a highly diverse community,” its leader, Langlois, wrote in an email. “We are grateful for their support of our mission to eliminate barriers to quality health care for all.”

Rubio’s office couldn’t be reached Saturday to determine why he felt compelled to warn the Rays about the health center, which provided more than $566,950 in medical care and prescriptions for the underinsured and uninsured, according to its annual report.

But he appreciates the Rays’ position, he wrote.

“I understand this can be a confusing issue given the vocal nature of local activists, a legacy media totally uninterested in the facts, and a public health establishment that willfully ignores science in the name of some unseen ‘progress,’” Rubio’s letter says, also noting the topic has led to  “disinformation pushed at the highest levels of government.” “Should you wish to learn more, my office is available to brief you, and your team, on this critical matter to ensure everyone understands how dangerous these practices are.”

Langlois, the CEO of the clinic, said she’d seen Rubio’s letter.

“For the safety of our medical professionals and the thousands of patients that depend on their service, we would ask that these facts be thoroughly researched, and misinformation removed,” she wrote.

Anne Geggis

Anne Geggis is a South Florida journalist who began her career in Vermont and has worked at the Sun-Sentinel, the Daytona Beach News-Journal and the Gainesville Sun covering government issues, health and education. She was a member of the Sun-Sentinel team that won the 2019 Pulitzer Prize for coverage of the Parkland high school shooting. You can reach her on Twitter @AnneBoca or by emailing [email protected].


  • Val Demings

    September 11, 2022 at 10:35 am

    Vote for me. I’ll send neo nazi Marco back to Cuba on a reverse banana boat. Show him what communism really is.

  • PeterH

    September 11, 2022 at 10:48 am

    Divisive Culture wars, insurrection and voter suppression is all the Republican Party has left to run on. The GQP is void of policies to make America a better place for Americans.

    Republicans are America’s problem.

    Vote all Republicans out of office.

    • Ocean Joe

      September 11, 2022 at 10:51 am

      The issues you list are what provide cover for their real agenda which is, as it has always been, stacking the deck in favor of the wealthy, protecting their privilege, stripping social programs to pay for it, while throwing the culture stuff like moldy bread crumbs to the gullibles in their red hats.

      • Charlie Crist

        September 11, 2022 at 1:12 pm

        👆It’s good that at least someone gets it.

  • TJC

    September 11, 2022 at 12:46 pm

    Rubio is exactly what Trump originally called him, a Little Man. Little Marco. What a sweet little pet he has turned out to be for Trump.

  • Tom

    September 11, 2022 at 1:40 pm

    Call them out Marco!

    These same people, elites multi millionaires tried to get public millions, as millionaires for a spring training stadium facility. Gov vetoed!

    It is atrocious that you extremists defend these acts. Do you defend parents being purposefully excluded?

    The Rays are in disarray. They had players rebel and not participate in their public acts last season. They are in a public support battle for stadium.

    Ocean, your liberal extremism exudes you the last 48 hrs. I’ll place in you in the peter h column.

    Good for Marco, drawing attention and calling the Rays out. Marco wins by 4 to 8 pts.

    • Charlie Crist

      September 11, 2022 at 2:54 pm

      👆 Neanderthal. Killing the USA with nonsense and voting not in his own interests. Voting for shills for the rich who wouldn’t wipe their azz with him.

    • Ocean Joe

      September 11, 2022 at 4:12 pm

      Thanks Tom, never thought I could run with the Big Dogs, such as yourself.
      BOGO ALERT: Vote for Rubio and get a permanent national abortion ban for free!

      • Tom

        September 11, 2022 at 6:07 pm

        Liar, extremism.
        Dumings, chameleon and Dums support 9th month, abortion on demand and after birth.

      • Tom

        September 11, 2022 at 9:32 pm

        Ocean, you referred to Gov Ron as George Wallace. That’s beyond the pale. Wallace stood in the school house door! He was a open racist, hostile to African Americans.

        Gov Ron is helping all. He is anything but that.

        Hernandez Matz, Weingarten, Biden, Fauci, Newsom. Cuomo and other Govs ruined kids with masks and keeping them out of schools.

        The national scores were released last week. Minorities were crushed.
        You Dems crushed middle class, blue collar, working class the past 20 months.

        The Dums sold out to the elites. You know it ocean. The Dums have isolated themselves from working people.

        DeSantis policies lifted all up.
        America’s Gov rising tide for all.

    • Mr. Haney

      September 11, 2022 at 6:42 pm

      Tom the RNC traitor looking for Marco the coward to call someone out? How about Marco actually doing something American. Traitor Tom is the extremist supporting a coward like Rubio who can’t seem to find the time to actually show up for what he’s paid for. Liberal extremism my ass Tom. Cowards like you are the problem and you don’t even live in Florida do you Tom the coward?

      • Tom

        September 11, 2022 at 9:19 pm

        Yes I do Mr Haney. You still living with Arnold the pig? You blue state Govs tyrants will want papers to be shown.

        Not sure what I am coward bout, LMAO. Anything but. Anytime you want to meet let me know.

        The Rays are pathetic. What a messed up Org. Millionaires trying to get millions from the legislature, thanks to Gov Kahones, vetoed!

        Now they pull this, glad Marco called them bout! Good for him.

        You are clueless, you are dealing with a legend. You can’t deal with me. Go sweep up Arnold’s pig Pen.

        • Charlie Crist

          September 12, 2022 at 5:53 am

          👆 Vote for me. I’ll body slam idiots like this guy into a sewer. Put a knot on this head that will never go away.

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  • Tjb

    September 11, 2022 at 3:11 pm

    So who lying about puberty blocker being used? MIH or Rubio?

    • SteveHC

      September 11, 2022 at 3:29 pm

      WHO CARES??? The question and any answer to it is irrelevant; the issue is a private one between doctors and their patients and ONLY between doctors and their patients.

      • Tjb

        September 13, 2022 at 3:53 pm

        I agree but in the article Rubio is lying, in my opinion, to make puberty blockers a red meat issue to his base.

  • SteveHC

    September 11, 2022 at 3:32 pm

    … and Rubio chooses to become ever more of an ignorant, one-note a*****e…

  • Charlie Crist

    September 12, 2022 at 6:06 am

    All Marco has to do is mention “the radical left” and all the hogs and terrorists go ape sht. Meanwhile, he votes to shovel money to the rich and screws the hogs and everyone else. The stupidity of right wingers knows no bounds.

  • Bill

    September 12, 2022 at 7:46 am

    What happened to the R’s being the party of small government and laissez-faire economic policy? They just can’t seem to stay out of other people’s business these days and they wonder why people think they’re fascists.

    • Pepper Brooks

      September 14, 2022 at 8:53 am

      Politics have always been a Chinese finger trap. Pull harder to the extreme and the other side does too. No one wins.

      • Bill

        September 14, 2022 at 12:43 pm

        Very true. I like that analogy.

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