The NFL and You Can Play teamed up on Wednesday to bring together LGBTQ youth and former NFL players for a conversation about understand, equality and inclusivity. The congregation was an event planned around the NFL’s Kickoff Game, featuring the Kansas City Chiefs and the New England Patriots.
Among the players participating in this week’s High Five event are openly gay former NFL player Ryan O’Callaghan and former Kansas City Chiefs running back Tony Richardson. O’Callaghan played for the two teams in Thursday’s NFL Kickoff game, the Chiefs and the Patriots.
The league, You Can Play and players engaged with youth from the Boston Alliance of Gay Lesbian Bisxual and Transgender Youth.
“The NFL understands the life-changing impact these one-on-one discussions can have both on LGBTQ youth and their athletes,” Brian Kitts, board member for You Can Play, told Outsports. “Professional athletes get perspective on a side of life, specifically the lives of LGBTQ youth, that they might not otherwise know about. This is how change happens - one talk at a time, one game at a time.”
The High Five project is the brainchild of Wade Davis, the former NFL prospect who came out publicly as gay and has since sought to build understanding along the lines of gender, sexual orientation and race. The You Can Play project has also done extensive work with the National Hockey League, among others.
The Chiefs will take on the Patriots at Gillette Stadium in Foxborough, Mass., Thursday night for the opening kickoff of the 2017 NFL season. The Patriots won Super Bowl LI, beating the Atlanta Falcons, 34-28 in overtime.