Football is gay. Football is lesbian. Football is also strong, tough, and accepting. Or so says the National Football League in a new video released yesterday.
According to a report in OutSports, the video — entitled Football Is for Everyone — is meant not just to support Carl Nassib, the first active NFL player to come out as gay, but also let other players, as well as LGBTQ+ fans, know they’re just as important and welcome.
"I am proud of the clear message this spot sends to the NFL’s LGBTQ+ fans: this game is unquestionably for you," Sam Rapoport, diversity director for the NFL told OutSports. "I will be playing its first line over and over in my head all season."
The first line to which Rapoport refers is the simple "football is gay" that appears on the screen to open the video. The video then moves on to assure viewers football is for everyone.
"Football is lesbian. Football is beautiful. Football is queer. Football is life. Football is exciting. Football is culture. Football is transgender. 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."
More than merely encouraging the LGBTQ+ community to remain part of the league’s fan base, the video is also a statement on just how far the league has progressed on the issue of gay athletes. Many saw professional football as a cesspool of toxic masculinity, but the NFL is now at the forefront of the fight for inclusion, using their platform and visibility to make clear they will stand with Nassib and the community.
"This spot is about celebrating Pride, and the importance of inclusion," Tim Ellis, chief marketing officer of the NFL, said in a statement. "It’s imperative that we use our voice and leverage the NFL platform to drive positive change, which includes supporting what our players care about and what they stand for."
Nassib famously came out as gay in a post to Instagram last week that has since gone viral. He used the occasion to donate $100,000 to The Trevor Project, the advocacy and support organization for LGBTQ+ youth at risk for death by suicide, and challenged others to contribute as well. That challenge was accepted and matched by the Raiders and the NFL, and this video can be seen as a continuation of the league’s outreach to the LGBTQ+ community.
"In the new film Football Is for Everyone from the NFL in partnership with The Trevor Project and creative agency 72andSunny Los Angeles, the league redefines the game to be inclusive of all different types of fans, coaches, and players," the NFL said in a statement. "The film also features The Trevor Project to highlight life-saving resources for LGTBQ+ youth."
Watch Football Is for Everyone below.
The Trevor Project is the world's largest suicide prevention and crisis intervention organization for LGBTQ+ youth (ages 24 and younger). Trained counselors at the Trevor Project Lifeline can be reached 24/7 at (866) 488-7386, by texting START to 678678, or via the TrevorChat instant messaging service at TheTrevorProject.org/Help. If you or a friend are having suicidal thoughts, please know there is a well of support out there to help. The National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at (800) 273-8255 can be reached 24 hours a day by people of all ages and identities. If you are a trans or gender-nonconforming person considering suicide, the Trans Lifeline can be reached at (877) 565-8860.