Vikings 1st NFL team to host summit promoting LGBTQ inclusion in sports

- The Minnesota Vikings became the first NFL team to host a summit promoting LGBTQ inclusion in sports Thursday, the result of a settled lawsuit from former punter Chris Kluwe.

Four years ago, Kluwe accused the team of letting him go because of his outspokenness in support of same-sex marriage. He also accused assistant coach Mike Priefer of using homophobic language. 

“If the positions were flipped, I would have wanted someone else to try to put an event on like this for me,” Kluwe said. “It feels good to be a part of that and hopefully other people can use it as an example.”

The Wild, Timberwolves, Lynx and 12 other NFL teams were all represented at Thursday’s daylong symposium. 

“I really see a lot of folks from the NFL clubs taking a lot of copious notes and having healthy discussions about ‘good enough’ not being good enough right now,” NFL Senior Director of Football Development Samantha Rapoport said. “I believe that other clubs will see what is going on here and create a similar environment that works in their club culture."

The Vikings invited approximately 200 people to their new headquarters in Eagan for the daylong summit, including Kluwe, former Viking Esera Tuaolo, Olympic gold medalist Greg Louganis and triathlete Chris Mosier. The team also invited other NFL teams as well as high school and college teams from around the Twin Cities. 

Four panels discussed ways for both coaches and athletes to be more inclusive of LGBTQ athletes in sports. 

“This is not a one day deal,” Vikings COO Kevin Warren said. “This should be something that every single day starting today you’re working on to move the dial in the right direction.”

The summit also included a silent auction to benefit local and national LGBTQ groups. 

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