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LGBT Inclusion Party at the Super Bowl draws NFL legends, hundreds of fans

Esera Tuaolo gathered NFL Legends, LGBT community members, and some incredible voices.

Former Minnesota Viking defensive ends Esera Tuaolo and Carl Eller celebrated inclusion at Tuaolo’s Super Bowl party.
Steve Elbert

Esera Tuaolo’s inaugural Inclusion Party at the Super Bowl was a big hit in Minneapolis on Wednesday night, attracting hundreds of revelers expressing support for LGBT inclusion in football.

Tuaolo, a former NFL player who came out publicly as gay after he retired, wanted to create a tentpole event around the Super Bowl to continue the push for equality and inclusion in his beloved sport of football. Tuaolo called the Super Bowl in his adopted hometown of Minneapolis an “amazing opportunity” to demonstrate inclusion in the NFL.

Among the approximately 300 people in attendance Wednesday night were Minnesota Vikings legends Robert Smith and Carl Eller, Atlanta Falcons assistant general manager Scott Pioli, and openly gay sports writers Chris Hine and Steve Buckley. A number of athletes and coaches profiled by Outsports were also in attendance, including Justin Rabon, Brad Neumann and Lars Egge. Minneapolis Mayor Jacob Frey also took time out of his busy schedule to attend and say a few words.

The entertainment for the night, hosted at the Pourhouse in Downtown Minneapolis, was provided mostly by Tuaolo and his compatriots on last season’s The Voice. Wonderful singers like Natalie Stovall, Kristi Hoopes, Rebecca Brunner, Adam Cunningham, Keisha Renee, Mitchell Lee and Dennis Drummond joined Tuaolo on stage for some fantastic performances.

Proceeds from the event, in addition to successful silent and online auctions, went toward local Minnesota LGBT charities, including Hate Is Wrong, Pacer’s National Bullying Prevention Center and Avenues For Homeless Youth.

With the Super Bowl in Atlanta next year, Tuaolo will continue his Inclusion Party. He played defensive end for both the Vikings and Falcons during his NFL career.