The Los Angeles Rams are helping a new LGBTQ flag football league get off the ground.
On Monday, the Super Bowl champions are hosting a kickoff party to launch the Varsity Gay League flag football division. VGL is one of the original queer recreational sports organizations in Los Angeles.
The party will be held at the Gym Sportsbar in West Hollywood, one of the most well-known gay sports bars in the U.S. Rams cheerleaders will attend the festivities.
There were five out gay cheerleaders on the Rams’ squad last season, and they were all on the sidelines for Super Bowl LVI.
In addition to hosting the kickoff event, the Rams will provide uniforms and equipment for all eight teams. They supported VGL’s drag queen kickball tournament earlier this month.
In recent years, NFL teams have shown great support for their cities’ LGBTQ flag football organizations. The New England Patriots the first NFL team to sponsor Gay Bowl, the National Gay Flag Football League’s annual championship tournament, back when Boston hosted the event in 2017.
Since then, every NFL team has followed suit.
Last fall, Patriots owner Robert Kraft even stopped by Boston’s flag football league’s opening day.
As a longtime player in Boston’s league — nine seasons! — I’ve seen the impact of the Patriots’ support. Their contributions to FLAG Flag Football legitimize the league and send the message that football is for everyone.
That’s not the message that many LGBTQ people receive growing up. Football culture, with all of its heteronormativity and macho veneer, isn't always the most welcoming.
By publicly supporting LA’s newest gay flag football league, the Rams are flipping that old narrative around. Meaningful Pride Month initiatives are about supporting LGBTQ people day in and day out.
That’s exactly what the Rams are doing here.