June is “gay pride” month across America, and one NFL team is diving in head-first. The Minnesota Vikings organization announced that it will host a special June 21 summit focused on the “critical importance” of lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, and queer (LGBTQ) inclusion in sports.
The first-ever NFL event will bring together athletes, coaches, team executives, “thought-leaders,” and the media “to share ideas and best practices through a series of panel discussions, interviews, and testimonials from LGBTQ athletes,” explained a Vikings press release.
“The Vikings are committed to leading efforts that raise awareness and create positive change for LGBTQ athletes across the country, and we are proud to bring together some of the nation’s thought leaders to create an engaging and impactful discussion,” declared Vikings Chief Operating Officer Kevin Warren. “This event will highlight the role each of those involved in sports, including coaches, players, and executives, can play to promote equality within sports teams. We are also proud to raise funds for meaningful local and national LGBTQ causes.”
Vikings punter Chris Kluwe said he was particularly excited to represent his team at the gay pride event. “While it’s a positive step forward for both the Vikings and the NFL, what’s really critical is how we all use our platforms to improve people’s lives,” Kluwe said. “We’ve pulled together true leaders who can bring legitimate change through their respective organizations and our goal is to put together an event that can be replicated by teams and leagues moving forward.”
In addition to Kluwe, the LGBTQ “trailblazers” and fellow-travelers expected at the “pride” celebration will include:
• Openly homosexual olympic athlete and LGBTQ activist Greg Louganis. “I am honored to be a part of this first-of-its-kind event,” said Louganis. “The summit will help promote a dialogue that moves our great sports institutions towards a more inclusive future.”
• Chris Mosier, a biological female who “transitioned” to male status and who competed as a man on Team USA’s sprint duathlon team at the 2016 World Championship. Mosier said that she is “thrilled to join the Minnesota Vikings in June to promote inclusion and respect for LGBTQ athletes. The Vikings are engaging in a critical conversation, particularly for transgender athletes, and I am looking forward to contributing to the conversation in the Twin Cities.”
• Esera Tuaolo, a high-profile homosexual activist who played five seasons with the Minnesota Vikings.
• Stephanie White, head women’s basketball coach at Vanderbilt University in Nashville.
Samantha Rapoport, the NFL’s director of Football Development, told USA Today that the LGBTQ event is the first of its kind for any NFL team, and is the league’s latest effort to promote the LGBTQ agenda in sports. In addition to the Vikings event, the NFL also plans to host a float at this year’s gay pride parade in New York City, and recently launched a pro-homosexual initiative called NFL Pride Affinity.
“I think the unknown is what hinders progress in general as it pertains to including any minority group, so I think that what this event is going to do is it will normalize the discussion around LGBTQ inclusion,” Rapoport warned. “I think the power that football has in this county to do that, the fact that the Minnesota Vikings are leading this, I think will hold a lot of weight and certainly advance that in people’s minds.”
So far only one organization has stepped forward to challenge the notion of a professional sports entity hosting a homosexual “inclusion” event. Steve McConkey of 4 Winds USA, a Wisconsin-based Christian sports outreach, said that professional athletics should not be used as a propaganda vehicle for perverse lifestyles. “People need a hobby and temporary escape from the world’s problems,” he said. “They do not want to hear about their team promoting particular sins.”
Photo of US Bank Stadium, home of the Minnesota Vikings: herreid/iStock Editorial/Getty Images Plus