Each week we’ll be taking a look at the NFL teams involved in the Sunday Night Football game and track their record — team, coaches and players — on LGBT issues.
This week’s Sunday Night Football game was supposed to match up two teams leading their divisions both taking aim at a conference championship. Instead, the Seattle Seahawks and Indianapolis Colts are both 1-2, and one of them will be a tough-to-swallow 1-3 come Monday morning.
While a number of people associated with these two teams have taken stances on LGBT issues (some good, some bad), probably none made a bigger statement over the years than Seahawks quarterback Russel Wilson. The devout Christian and his then-fiancee, singer Ciara, reportedly moved their wedding out of North Carolina when the state enacted the anti-LGBT HB2 law.
Wilson attended North Carolina State for two years before transferring to Wisconsin. He was previously married to Ashton Meem, whom he met in high school and who also attended N.C. State.
Wilson and Ciara instead married in England, where same-sex marriage has been legal since 2014.
If you’re looking for a team to cheer for, Wilson’s move may give it to you. If not, here are a few other LGBT storylines with the Colts and Seahawks to consider:
- Surprisingly the biggest loudmouth in the game — Seahawks DB Richard Sherman — hasn’t said a peep about LGBT rights, gay athletes, same-sex marriage or anything else. It’s an odd silence, given Sherman’s endless preaching about race, equality for women, various other players and teams in the NFL, and on and on. (Of course, if we somehow missed his comments, please let us know and we’ll correct this.)
- During Pride Month this year, the Seattle Seahawks and CenturyLink Field lit the CenturyLink arches in rainbow colors to celebrate the LGBT community.
- After Michael Sam came out publicly in 2014, Indianapolis Star reporter Phil Richards asked a number of Colts players how they felt about it, with a mostly positive reception. “When we go out on the field on Sunday, is he going to be able to do his job,” said OT Anthony Castonzo, who is still with the team. “If he can, he'd be a good teammate.”
- It’s been a decade since Colts head coach Tony Dungy came out very publicly against marriage equality and helped an anti-LGBT hate group raise tens of thousands of dollars to fight against same-sex marriage. Since then Dungy has said he wouldn’t want Michael Sam on his team and said he disagrees with Jason Collins’ “lifestyle.” Dungy will be one of the in-studio commentators for the NBC Sunday Night Football game.
Outsports prediction: Seattle 27, Indianapolis 15. We’re a miserable 0-2 so far picking these games, so take this with a grain of salt. The Colts offense have looked OK with Jacoby Brissett at the helm, after the team got pounded by the St. Louis Rams in week 1. The Seahawks have looked out of sorts, but they have a great home record over the last few years. If the Seahawks’ defense can’t keep a lid on the Colts without Andrew Luck, this is going to be a long, tough season for Seattle.