LGBTQ youth, Sourdough Sam and Kenny Stills huddle before the NFL’s flag football clinic at the NFL Experience at Super Bowl LVIII. | Cyd Zeigler

The NFL hosted local Las Vegas LGBTQ youth at a flag football clinic during Super Bowl week on the field at the NFL Experience.

On hand were various NFL front-office executives, board members of the National Gay Flag Football League, the San Francisco 49ers cheerleaders, and former NFL stars Tony Richardson and Kenny Stills.

“I want to encourage everyone here to be themselves and be true to themselves,” said Stills, a nine-year veteran of the NFL who played for multiple teams including the Miami Dolphins and New Orleans Saints. “The more you do that, the more you’ll create acceptance around us.”

An LGBTQ youth in Las Vegas tries to avoid the flag football tackle of one of the San Francisco 49ers cheerleaders. | Cyd Zeigler

The event was hosted in support of the NGFFL, as well as the LGBTQ Center of Las Vegas, the organization that reached out to local LGBTQ youth for the event.

It was a powerful moment for the NFL’s LGBTQ-inclusion efforts. This was hosted at the NFL Experience, with tens of thousands of people passing through, all in front of the public. It featured rainbow-colored Pride logos of the NFL, in addition to two legends of the game.

Plus, it supported LGBTQ youth in the area.

These kinds of events seemed impossible a decade ago. We’re thrilled to see them on the world’s biggest sports stage today.

Board members of the National Gay Flag Football League meet San Francisco 49ers cheerleader Jonathan Romero. | Cyd Zeigler