The Washington Football Team has partnered with the local LGBTQ+ sports umbrella organization Team DC to host a rare Pride Night during their upcoming Thursday Night Football Game against the New York Giants.
Taking place this Thursday, September 16, at FedEx Stadium in the nation’s capital, the Pride Night Out will include performances by the Gay Men’s Chorus of Washington and the LGBTQ+ music organization DC’s Different Drummers.
Joey Colby-Begovich, vice president of guest experience and operations for the Washington Football Team told the Washington Blade that the team had gone through a leadership change and now sought a broader outreach than in the past.
“We want to be intentional in celebrating our communities beyond the traditional football fans and that includes people of color and marginalized communities,” Colby-Begovich said. “Football is for everyone.”
Brent Minor, founder and executive director of Team DC, said the organization had opted against partnering with the Washington Football Team previously due to their use of an anti-Indigenous slur as their team’s name.
“We had tried reaching out in the past but eventually made the decision that we would not engage until the name was changed,” Minor told the Blade. “We don’t want these community nights to just be a monetary transaction, we want to build bridges and encourage inclusion.”
The league has seen rapid improvement in its relationship with the LGBTQ+ community and has even seen its first out player. Raiders defensive end Carl Nassib used a post to Instagram to come out as gay during Pride Month, the first active player signed to a regular-season roster to do so.
"What’s up people," Nassib said in his Instagram video. "I’m at my house in West Chester, Pennsylvania. I just wanted to take a quick moment to say that I’m gay."
The 28-year-old veteran lineman from West Chester, Pennsylvania, made history again when he became the first out gay player to take the field in a regular-season NFL game, in the featured Monday Night Football season premiere. He celebrated the occasion when and where it counted, on the field forcing a fumble in overtime which led to the game-winning touchdown pass from Raiders quarterback Derek Carr two plays later.
Colby-Begovich said he hopes to build on the league’s response to Nassib.
“There is change happening,” he said.
“Establishing these relationships is important and who knows where this leads when you are embraced in a positive way?” Minor added. “When you can break down a barrier between the LGBTQ community and the NFL, that’s rarefied air.”
Seats are still available for the game, with options including lower, upper, and club levels. Ticket prices range from $30 to $130. Fans can also add a special Pride Party upgrade which includes an all-you-can-eat buffet with beer and wine included, and a special limited-edition Washington Football Team Pride gift.