Football Comes Out Of Closet
If you live in one of the cities and states that celebrates Pride in June, then your official Pride month is almost over, as of tomorrow night at midnight.
Just in time, and in direct response to Raiders defensive lineman Carl Nassib coming out this month, becoming the only active NFL player in history ever to do so, the NFL has released this video, in which football declares itself to be gay. And lesbian. And queer. And transgender. And bisexual. And FREEDOM!
It is a very cool ad.
"Football is lesbian. Football is beautiful. Football is queer. Football is life. Football is exciting. Football is culture. Football is transgender. Football is queer. Football is heart. Football is power. Football is tough. Football is bisexual. Football is strong. Football is freedom. Football is American. Football is accepting. Football is everything. Football is for everyone."
And then they ask for donations to the Trevor Project, just like Nassib did, noting as Nassib did that LGBTQ+ youth who have just one accepting adult in their lives are 40 percent less likely to attempt suicide. Just one!
Sam Rapoport, who does diversity, equity and inclusion for the NFL, commented on the ad:
"I am proud of the clear message this spot sends to the NFL's LGBTQ+ fans: This game is unquestionably for you," NFL senior director of diversity, equity and inclusion, Sam Rapoport, told Outsports. "I will be playing its first line over and over in my head all season."
Rapoport told USA TODAY Sports last week: "It's OK to not fully understand the LGBTQ+ experience for you to be an ally. You don't need to be an expert in all the terms. You just need to try."
So there you have it. Football is gay now and all halftimes from now on will feature only drag queen story hour and Beyoncé maybe. It is decreed! (It is not decreed.)
Of course, because we are who we are -- AND THAT'S WHAT PRIDE IS ALL ABOUT -- we are mostly excited about this because we want to see the shitfit from the One Million Moms and Pat Robertson and all the other right-wing Christian weirdos. They are going to lose it. They probably already are, we just haven't gone searching for it yet. When we get around to it, we will let you know.
But on a serious note, and as we said when Nassib came out, stuff like this matters. Indeed, if we may directly quote ourselves and then affix an addendum to what we already said PERFECTLY last week:
Things have changed wildly for people coming out, in pretty much every arena in American life, in the past couple of decades, including in the wide world of sports. But we always have to remember there are still LGBTQ kids growing up in houses in the 'burbs or wherever, for whom it's just as difficult as it's always been, because their parents or extended families or churches are giant bigots. There aren't as many of those kids now, hopefully, with 70 percent of Americans supportive of marriage equality. But they're there. Maybe they live next door to a supportive family, maybe they don't. Maybe they have trusted teachers or coaches or other people at school they can confide in, maybe they don't. Maybe they go to a retrograde Christian private school that started out, like so many of them did, as a segregation academy. Maybe they're home-schooled.
It matters for them to turn on the TV and see a football player like Carl Nassib living his truth. Or their favorite Hollywood actor. Or for them to see LGBTQ folks out and about, living happy lives, despite their parents' best efforts to shelter them from that reality.
And as grating as cheesy corporate pride campaigns can be, it also matters when fucking breakfast cereal goes gay for the month of June.
It all matters.
And it matters when the freaking NFL very publicly takes those LGBTQ+ kids' side.
But for real, we are so excited for the shitfit from the Christian right, it's gonna be lit as fuck.
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