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New England Patriots sponsoring Gay Bowl 17 in Boston this October

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Patriots are first NFL team to sponsor annual gay tournament.

NFL: Super Bowl LI-New England Patriots vs Atlanta Falcons
Robert Kraft has won five Super Bowls as an NFL owner and now supports Gay Bowl 17.
Matthew Emmons-USA TODAY Sports

The New England Patriots will be a sponsor of Gay Bowl 17, the event’s organizing committee announced Saturday night. Boston’s LGBT Flag Football group shared the news during its spring season awards banquet.

The Patriots have confirmed the sponsorship with Outsports.

Earlier this year Patriots owner Bob Kraft joined the league at its annual scholarship dinner (picture below), which honored local LGBT high school athlete Chris Morse.

Robert Kraft poses with some people at the FLAG Flag Football spring event. High school athlete Chris Morse (third from left) was honored. Also pictured are Gay Bowl chairs Danny Tyrrell and Dave Hamilton.

The Gay Bowl was created in 2002 as an annual national championship tournament for LGBT flag football teams. About 40 teams are expected to compete in several divisions, including a women’s division, from across North America. The San Diego Bolts are the five-time defending champion.

Boston previously hosted the Gay Bowl in 2003. That year the Patriots send former player Andre Tippet to the event; Tippet officiated the tournament’s ceremonial coin toss.

The Patriots have been one of the most LGBT-inclusive NFL teams, signing an amicus brief several years ago in support of same-sex marriage.