Is there a football game today? Are you watching sportsball this Sunday? No people, there are no NFL games today. Next week is the Super Bowl.
I know I'm not the only gay in the village that watches (American) football, that cares about the sport, that is still riled up about the non-call / non-reviewable mistake during the Saints-Rams game.
Sports are a big part of American culture, many cultures, and the line of enjoying sports is not drawn between straight and LGBT. Others are taking note and doing something about the fact that not only are there fans of the sport that are LGBT, but there are sports players that are LGBT and we are read to talk about how we want to be a part of our nation's sports culture. During this week's build-up to the big game, LGBT centered events will take place in Atlanta to do just that.
The discussion will help shed away any unfounded biases people have and tackle the issue objectively and fairly. In line with this, we want to cover a broad array of related topics and perspectives. This includes having panelists from within NFL management, from private ancillary businesses (like Adidas, etc), professional athletes, coaches, team owners, and similar people tied to the sporting, and NFL, franchise. Panelists will cover everything from personal experiences in the industry, religious and personal beliefs, the business side of the issue (i.e., effects on revenue, fan base, etc), anticipated future developments from their respective role, etc.
The host for the panel is Cyd Zeigler (Owner of Outsports) @CydZeigler and the panelists are:
- Scott Pioli – Assistant GM Atlanta Falcons @scottpioli51
- Zion Armstrong – President Adidas North America
- Peter King – National Sportswriter Of The Year @peter_king
- Karin Nelson – Vice President, Legal & Social Impact Minnesota Vikings
- Greg Louganis – Olympic Gold Medalist @greglouganis
- Katie Sowers – Assistant Coach San Francisco 49ers @katesowers5
- Esera Tuaolo – 9 Year NFL Veteran @eseratuaolo
All of these panelists will definitely add to the discussion. Tuaolo has been in Instinct many times before, from his football years and even to his time as a contestant on NBC's 'The Voice' (Instinct Interviews Chris Weaver & Esera Tuaolo – The Voice's Out Contestants This Season).
[Tuaolo] is one of the few former male professional athletes to come out publicly, dedicating his life to making sports — and the world — a better place for everyone. – Cyd Zeigler of Outsports.com.
Last week on January 23rd, another panel kicked off the talks about LBGT inclusion and representation in sports.
The National Center for Civil and Human Rights’ updated Breaking Barriers: Sports for Change exhibition examines the multiple intersections of human rights and sports throughout time. This program will feature a star-studded panel of activists and athletes discussing a range of global rights issues related to sports, particularly those that affect women and the LGBTQ community.
Panelists that attended this event were:
- Michael Sam – ESPN’s 2014 Arthur Ashe Courage Award and currently an NFL free agent.
- Pat Manuel – first transgender boxer in the history of the United States to have a professional fight
- Phaidra Knight – Rugby coach, USA Rugby Board member, TV analyst, and judicial officer.
- Layshia Clarendon – Professional basketball player for the Connecticut Sun of the Women’s National Basketball Association (WNBA)
Last year saw Touchdown! First-ever Super Bowl Inclusion Party Set For Minneapolis. Who else should host but Carson Kressley.
The Inclusion Party has the three objectives. First, it seeks to eliminate explicit and implicit bias by bringing the NFL and the LGBT communities closer together. Second, the party will support the idea that inclusion comes from changing the whole NFL environment, not just relying on gay or bisexual players to do all the work. The party will bring together people of all identities—coaches, players, team owners, fans, and the like of all sexualities and genders—to publicly show support for inclusion. As the party grows in size and popularity, the change in and around the NFL and the sports world will, too. Finally, the party seeks to cultivate a hate-free zone on which LGBT athletes can rely, whether closeted or open with their sexuality. Players will have a whole organization and many readily identifiable allies for support. ' – inclusionparty.com
What a time to be in Atlanta!