League without 1 openly gay player having a ‘Pride Night’ at Super Bowl LVIII

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Bad execution can always ruin “good” intentions. The league that hasn’t created a safe enough space for gay players is having a “Pride Night” during Super Bowl week in Las Vegas. This is what a lack of self-awareness looks like.

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On Wednesday, February 7, the league will host the third annual “A Night of Pride with GLAAD’’ and feature a performance by singer-songwriter VINCINT. According to the NFL, the event will include conversations with GLAAD, “to spotlight advances in the future of LGBTQ inclusion in professional sports as well as the NFL’s commitment to LGBTQ former and current players.”

This is the part where Michael Sam is probably rolling his eyes, as the former SEC Defensive Player of the Year (2013) became the first openly gay player to be drafted into the league, but didn’t play a single down in a regular-season game — and you know why. Former NFL head coach Jon Gruden once referred to NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell as a “f——-t” and a “clueless anti football pussy” in emails, and said that the commissioner shouldn’t have pressured the Rams to draft “queers,” about Sam.

“Our Third Annual A Night of Pride with GLAAD is yet another strong step to accelerating acceptance and demonstrating the NFL’s unwavering support of the LGBTQ community,” said NFL’s Senior Vice President and Chief Diversity & Inclusion Officer, Jonathan Beane in a statement. “We look forward to continuing and strengthening our efforts to ensure football is for everyone.”

The league is also hosting its second annual Pride Flag Football Clinic at the Super Bowl Experience, in an attempt to be advocates of LGBTQ+ youth and members of the National Gay Flag Football League. In case you didn’t know, “Football is Gay,” as the league proudly declared all the way back in 2021 in a video spot, as they attempted to act like authorities on the matter. In the video, the NFL also broke major news by alerting the world that football is also “lesbian,” “beautiful,” “queer,” “transgender” and for “everyone.” Apparently, until 2021 the NFL didn’t know that any human being could play a sport.

“I actually hope that one day videos like this and the whole coming out process are just not necessary, but until then, I am going to do my best and do my part to cultivate a culture that is accepting, that is compassionate,” said Carl Nassib at the time. Nassib made history as the first openly gay player in NFL history when he came out in 2021. He retired in 2023 after playing for three teams (Browns, Buccaneers, Raiders) in seven seasons.

“This is a bittersweet moment for me, but after seven seasons and just over 100 NFL games I am officially retiring from football to focus on my company Rayze,” he posted on social media. “It really feels like just yesterday starting out as a walk-on at Penn State. Football has given me more than I ever could have imagined. I can truly hang up my helmet for the last time knowing I gave it everything I had. Growing up, I loved how fun football was. I loved the pursuit of perfection. I loved the small window where every player has to chase their dreams. It makes it all the more exciting if you get there. It was always my dream to play in the NFL, even as a walk-on, and I really feel like the luckiest guy on the planet.”

Since the NFL has finally realized that America’s favorite sport isn’t just for straight people, the event at the Super Bowl is destined to be another one of their failed attempts of acting as if they care about social issues, as the league has a long history of throwing money around to make it appear as if serious matters are of the utmost importance, only for it later to be proven that it wasn’t. Nonetheless, here’s to the event being a success. And to the hopes that the league (sarcasm font) will have a similar event next year by partnering with the NAACP to celebrate Black owners — without ever having a majority owner that’s Black.

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