The Sacramento Kings are one of the most inclusive organizations in professional sports. They have at least seven out team employees, including Karl Crudup, who will be part of the next Outsports Pride conversation Thursday about how fans can work with their favorite team to embrace the LGBTQ community and its causes.
As the Special Events Sales Director, Crudup is responsible for leading the franchise’s strategy for private events and increasing revenue opportunities for its hospitality department. In a recent Pride Month interview with the Kings’ website, Crudup, who’s openly gay, says he would tell LGBTQ people to not shy away from working in the traditionally exclusive arena of professional sports. There are already several out sports executives across the major leagues, and that number promises to only increase with time.
“Don’t be afraid to aspire to work in an industry where it’s hard to see our community deeply represented, yet,” he said. “Call upon myself and others who have pioneered a way for our community to be seen and included for advice. We need you!”
Crudup will be joined on the panel by Kings co-worker Lisa Feigenbaum, a vice president of sales. Their inclusion will give perspective of how different people interact with the community from the same organization. Earlier this year, Feigenbaum told Outsports how much the team’s Equality Night in March meant to LGBTQ employees, including those who may not yet be comfortable being out.
“When you see the team is supporting it, and in a big way, it makes you feel safe in your job,” she said.
In the Pride Night video, Crudup touches upon the importance of inclusion, saying he just wants to know he’s valued.
“I just want to be heard,” he said. “I just want to be seen. I just want to be loved, and love others.”
As a gay Black man, Crudup says this year’s Pride Month has taken on a special meaning for him, given the nationwide Black Lives Matter protests. Last weekend, an estimated 15,000 people marched in New York City to show solidarity with Black transgender people, who are disproportionally victims of violence.
“Trans Black women were on the front lines of the NY Stonewall riots protesting against police brutality of the LGBTQ+ community,” he told Kings.com. “The inception of Pride Month itself was because of these protests and radical acts of change that started the conversation about LGBTQ+ issues. As black and gay in America, I have experienced inequality in many forms. Intersectionality at it root is activism and you can’t stand with one community and leave out the other. It will take us all to ensure Black Lives Matter!”
Three additional sports executives will join Crudup and Feigenbaum on the panel Thursday: Erik Braverman of the Los Angeles Dodgers, Amy Werdine of the Minnesota Vikings and Joe Altenau of the New Jersey Devils and Prudential Center.
You can register for the conversation here. It starts at 8:00 p.m. ET/5:00 p.m. PT.