Thanks to former punter Chris Kluwe's settlement with the Minnesota Vikings a few years ago, the Vikings will host an event dedicated to the support of open inclusion of LGBTQ athletes in sports.
Kevin Warren, the chief operating officer of the Vikings, told USA TODAY Sports that the event "sends a message" that there is widespread support for LGBTQ inclusion in sports.
"Hopefully this is the spark to get some of these issues out on the table and allow people to become more comfortable in addressing these issues," he added.
It'll be the first large-scale event of its kind in NFL history, USA Today says, and will take place June 21 at the Twin Cities Orthopedics Center, the new team headquarters just south of Interstate 494 in Eagan.
Local college and high school coaches and staff will be invited to the event, along with school administrators, members of local LGBTQ organizations, and representatives from NFL teams and the NFL office.
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Among the guest speakers planned for the event:
- Nevin Caple, co-founder, LGBT SportSafe
- Robert Gulliver, NFL's chief human resources officer
- Greg Louganis, Olympic diver and LGBTQ activist
- Chris Mosier, first known out transgender athlete to join a U.S. national team
- Samantha Rapoport, NFL's director of football development
- Esera Tuaolo, former Vikings player, current singer and LGBTQ activist
- Stephanie White, head coach of Vanderbilt women's basketball
Kluwe threatened to sue the Vikings after he was released in 2013, accusing special teams coordinator Mike Priefer of using anti-gay slurs towards him and arguing that he was released because of his outspoken support for gay marriage.
The Vikings and Kluwe reached a settlement and according to Pro Football Talk, part of the deal included the Vikings donating a "substantial" amount of money to LGBTQ-related causes.
Minnesota conducted an investigation and found that Kluwe was released for football reasons, but they also confirmed Priefer's anti-gay comments and suspended. Priefer is still the team's special teams coordinator.
Kluwe has been out of the NFL since his release in 2013.