June 21, 2018 01:40 PM
The Minnesota Vikings made history on Thursday. Vikings players, coaches and members of the LGBTQ community came together for a first of its kind inclusion summit held by an NFL team.
The LGBTQ summit and fundraising event was held at the TCO Performance Center Auditorium in Eagan.
It centered around bridging the gap between the LGBTQ community and sports.
In front of a packed crowd, former and current LGBTQ athletes shared stories about how they were criticized for who they loved while playing the sport they love.
The event featured four panel discussions. Each one about an hour long.
There was "Athletes as Allies," for example.
Former Vikings punter Chris Kluwe spoke on that panel about his role as an outspoken ally for inclusion in sports. Kluwe shared why he, as a Vikings player in 2014, decided to speak up, after hearing a coach make a homophobic comment.
"It was when the whole (gay) marriage amendment thing was going on in Minnesota. It was when I realized I was in a position to do something to help other people," Kluwe said. "I had that platform. I needed to use it, because if I didn't, then how can I expect someone to do the same for me."
Kluwe's hope is that the NFL and other sports leagues take notice, and it sparks conversations leading to more acceptance of the LGBTQ community in the athletic world.
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"LGBTQ rights is not something that is going to go away and that teams do have LGBTQ individuals, both as athletes and members of administration ... and front offices," Kluwe said. "These are members of your community that are not allowed to do their jobs at 100 percent because they have to worry about hiding who they are."
Athletes and coaches from the high school to the college level were also in attendance. Many said they will be advocates for inclusion in their programs.
Updated: June 21, 2018 01:40 PM
Created: June 21, 2018 12:52 PM
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