Vikings Will Host Summit, Auction To Benefit LGBTQ Groups
The Vikings will "host a summit and fundraiser June 21 at their new headquarters in Eagan designed to promote LGBTQ inclusion in sports and raise money for LGBTQ groups," according to Chris Hine of the Minneapolis STAR TRIBUNE. The Vikings, believed to be the "first NFL team to host an event like this, organized the fundraiser in part to fulfill a pledge they made in a settlement" with former P Chris Kluwe. Kluwe "threatened to sue the team" in '14 after Vikings special teams coordinator Mike Priefer "used anti-gay language." Kluwe "will be one of the speakers at the event," which includes Gold Medal-winning U.S. diver Greg Louganis and former Vikings DE Esera Tuaolo. The team will invite 200 people "from within the organization, other NFL teams and from colleges and high schools around the Twin Cities." There will be four panels that will "highlight how coaches and players can make sports a more welcome environment for LGBTQ athletes, while the fundraising aspect of the night will include a silent auction for local and national LGBTQ groups." Vikings COO Kevin Warren said that the team will "plan on holding a similar summit in years to come" (Minneapolis STAR TRIBUNE, 5/16). NFL Dir of Football Development Samantha Rapoport said that the summit is the "first of its kind for any team, though other franchises have worked with LGBTQ organizations like You Can Play in the past." Rapoport said that the Vikings' event is the "latest step in the league's effort to be more inclusive of LGBTQ athletes and employees." The NFL will also "have a float" in the N.Y. Pride parade this year for the first time (USA TODAY, 5/16).