NEW YORK - The National Football League embraced the start of Pride Month this week by sharing its famed logo in rainbow colors in a show of "support and solidarity" with the LGBTQ+ community.
"We stand with LGBTQ+ people this month and yearlong with a commitment to our players, our fans and our staff to live proudly and authentically," the NFL said Wednesday in a post on social media, adding "Happy Pride Month!"
In a photo of its Pride-themed NFL shield, all 32 teams’ logos were also displayed in rainbow colors.
The San Francisco 49ers announced month-long plans to celebrate Pride Month throughout June, including a genderless clothing line in which 100% of the proceeds will benefit local LGBTQ+ organizations.
On June 22, the team will hold the 2021 49ers PRIDE LGBTQ+ Activism in Sports Panel featuring professional athletes and sports personalities like Kimberly Chexnayder, Fallon Fox and Kurtis Gabriel. The panel will discuss the normalization of LGBTQ+ athletes and their personal experiences as out and allied persons in sports, the team said.
The Seattle Seahawks teamed up with fellow sports teams in the city to drive support for local LGBTQ+-owned small businesses and gender-inclusive youth sports.
"We're proud to promote acceptance and awareness," the team wrote in a post.
Former NFL player Ryan O’Callaghan, who played with the New England Patriots and Kansas City Chiefs, came out as gay in a 2017 story published by Outsports — a sports news site focusing on LGBT issues and personalities. He told the outlet that the NFL’s support of Pride Month is important in winning hearts and minds amid some negative comments online.
"The response shows people’s lack of understanding and ignorance," O’Callaghan said. "I’m glad the NFL does it. Small gestures like that add up."
O’Callaghan hid his sexual orientation throughout his football career. He told the outlet that he had decided to play the sport, including in college at the University of California—Berkeley, in a large part to hide his sexuality.
Pride Month, which is now celebrated by LGBTQ+ communities and allies all over the world, stems from the tragedy of the Stonewall Riots.
In June of 1969, patrons and supporters of a popular gay bar in New York City, called the Stonewall Inn, staged an uprising during a routine police raid, according to the NYC LGBT Historic Sites Project. The days-long conflict marked the beginning of a modern movement to outlaw discriminatory laws and practices against LGBTQ Americans.
The first pride parades were held a year after the uprising, attracting thousands of participants. Today, thousands of pride parades, marches and festivals are held around the world. The month-long celebration aims to both uplift those in the LGBTQ+ community and serves as a push to achieve equal justice and opportunities.
President Joe Biden on Tuesday officially declared June 2021 as "Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender, and Queer Pride Month" after signing a proclamation.
This story was reported from Cincinnati.