Honorees 61-70 on the Outsports Power 100, the most influential LGBTQ people in sports. Pictured: NBC analyst Steve Kornacki, former NFL player Esera Tuaolo, Columbus Crew CBO Kristin Bernert. | Shelby Weldon / Getty Images

Outsports is highlighting our selections for the 100 most powerful and influential out LGBTQ people in sports in the United States, in the Outsports Power 100.

League executives. Team owners. Athletes. Coaches. College sports administrators. Members of the sports media.

The breadth, depth and diversity of the honorees are a profound statement.

Here are Outsports’ selections for Nos. 61-70:

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61) Chuck Culpepper
Lead college sports writer, Washington Post
Chuck ​​Culpepper is a star reporter with the Washington Post where he covers college sports as well as tennis, golf and international sports, such as World Cup soccer. Last year he was the recipient of the NLGJA’s Lisa Ben Award for Achievement in Features Coverage, which celebrated Culpepper for standing out “in a field that is often short on LGBTQ representation.” His 2013 column “The Gay Super Bowl” was seminal at the time for its chronicle of his experience as a gay man working in the sports journalism and LGBTQ allyship in the NFL. — Shelby Weldon

62) Lya Vallat
Producer, NFL Network
When Carl Nassib came out as gay in 2021, NFL Network Senior Coordinating Producer Lya Vallat was ready. What influenced the network’s solid coverage that day wasn’t just the knowledge of sports, but having someone driving the coverage who understood the deeper human dimension. Check out our feature story on Vallat and her journey in the NFL. — Karleigh Webb

63) Esera Tuaolo
Advocate, former NFL player
Esera Tuaolo played 10 seasons in the NFL, appearing in the Super Bowl with the Atlanta Falcons, before publicly coming out as gay in 2002, making him one of the most accomplished out gay football players ever. He’s stayed close to the game since retirement, hosting an annual Super Bowl party and speaking to rookies about LGBTQ inclusion. But for all of Tuaolo’s talents — he’s also a singer and performer — his candor stands out the most. “It took me a while to realize I played in the NFL. How many athletes or football players get to do that?” he said this year. “I played nine years, and the average is three. I wasn’t a bench-warmer. I played. I can now look at myself in the mirror and say, ‘Hey, I was a good player.’ But it took a while, man.” — Alex Reimer

64) Joe Altenau
Head of production, New York Road Runners
During his college days, Joe Altenau was an out gay runner with GWU’s cross country team. After graduating, Altenau found a job as director of event operations for the New Jersey Devils and the Prudential Center. Altenau moved on in 2023 to become head of event production for the New York Road Runners. Read our feature story on Altenau and his move from producing NHL games to road running. — Ken Schultz

65) Chris Hine
Columnist, Minneapolis Star Tribune
When the Atlanta Falcons sparked controversy in 2016 by asking invasive questions about NFL Combine prospects’ sexuality, sportswriter Chris Hine was outraged and felt he needed to say something. In his column addressing the issue, Hine revealed to his readers that he was gay. As the Chicago Tribune’s Blackhawks beat writer, his words found resonance a few months later when the Hawks’ Andrew Shaw dropped an anti-gay slur in the penalty box. Hine called Shaw’s outburst “inexcusable” and asserted it was “one of the reasons why gay athletes everywhere stay closeted and live lives of torment.” After being named the NMSA’s Illinois Sportswriter of the Year for 2017, Hine took a job with the Minneapolis Star Tribune where he currently covers the Minnesota Timberwolves. — Ken Schultz

66) Steve Kornacki
Sports statistics analyst, NBC
Who knew math, data and khakis could be cool, but that’s the combo that rocketed Steve Kornacki to fame in the 2020 election. The NBC political analyst used his electronic maps, sharpie and pencil behind the ear as he broke down races state by state and often precinct to precinct, while getting offers of marriage from gay men on social media. Kornacki parlayed his political skills into a new gig that has him breaking down sports, from NFL playoff scenarios to Olympic medal counts to what dark horse has a chance in the Kentucky Derby. With 2024 looming, get ready for more Kornacki to liven up often tedious election coverage with his sharp analysis and a winning manner. — Jim Buzinski

67) Kristin Bernert
CBO, Columbus Crew
Kristin Bernert has spent over two decades working in major American sports, from Ohio State to the Los Angeles Sparks and the NBA. She is now the president of business operations for the Columbus Crew. She’s previously been recognized as a “Game Changer” by Sports Business Journal and as one of Crain’s Business Journal’s “Notable Women in Sports.” — Cyd Zeigler

68) Jennifer Azzi
Chief Business Development Officer, Las Vegas Aces
Jennifer Azzi, a legend of the WNBA’s early years before becoming a coach and then a sports executive, has worn many hats. Currently in her role with the Las Vegas Aces as chief business development officer, she lends decades of experience in the league to a team looking to capitalize on its dominance in the years to come. Azzi married her wife (and then assistant coach) Blair Hardiek in 2015, announcing it publicly for the first time a year later, making Azzi the only out DI basketball coach at the time. — Shelby Weldon

69) Katie Hill
SVP, Communications, NFL
Katie Hill is the NFL’s senior vice president of communications, charting a diverse path through politics and PR to get to the role she has in sports today. Recognizing both the accomplishment of the few women, particularly out women, in NFL positions such as hers as well as the work still to be done on the inclusion front, Hill reflects, “I’ve always known that I wanted to make a difference in some way.” She and her wife, Andrea, live in New York. — Shelby Weldon

70) Ed Romaine
Senior Vice President, Head of Market Brand Strategy, Warner Bros. Discovery Sports
Ed Romaine plays an important role at Warner Bros. Discovery Sports as the company’s SVP and head of market brand strategy. He lives in New York City with his husband, and in his role at WBD Sports, which reaches 240 million people every month across all platforms, oversees the company’s marketing, data strategy, and branded content. Prior to his current position, Romaine also spent time at Bleacher Report, part of WBD Sports, and during his tenure there helped it to become a leading partner for sponsored content in the sports market. — Shelby Weldon

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