The Minnesota Vikings will host a day-long summit and fundraiser at the team's new TCO Performance Center on June 21 - a few days before the Twin Cities Pride parade - with a focus on LGBTQ inclusion in sports.
"The Vikings are committed to leading efforts that raise awareness and create positive change for LGBTQ athletes across the country, and we are proud to bring together some of the nation’s thought leaders to create an engaging and impactful discussion," Vikings CEO Kevin Warren said in the team's announcement Wednesday morning.
"This event will highlight the role each of those involved in sports, including coaches, players, and executives, can play to promote equality within sports teams. We are also proud to raise funds for meaningful local and national LGBTQ causes."
The Vikings will become the first NFL club to hold such an event. Guests will include Olympic gold medalist Greg Louganis, triathlete Chris Mosier, and former Vikings punter Chris Kluwe.
"I'm extremely excited to join the Vikings in making this significant event a reality, Kluwe said. "While it's a positive step forward for both the Vikings and the NFL, what’s really critical is how we all use our platforms to improve people's lives. We've pulled together true leaders who can bring legitimate change through their respective organizations and our goal is to put together an event that can be replicated by teams and leagues moving forward."
The Vikings organized the event partly due to a pledge made to Kluwe, who threatened to sue the team in 2014 after special teams coordinator Mike Priefer was caught using anti-gay language, according to Chris Hine of the Star Tribune.
"We obviously had our issues a while ago, but this is our way of looking forward and trying to figure out how we make sure that we set the stage for that not to happen again," Kluwe said. "I think that it’s the ideal outcome in that, at the end of the day, hopefully this will help a lot of people that otherwise might not have gotten that help."
The day will be comprised of panel sessions discussing the role of allies of LGBTQ athletes in terms of creating an inclusive environment, the role of coaches in creating positive and winning environments, inspiring stories of high-profile LGBTQ athletes, and how leaders can transform institutions to be fully inclusive.
A reception at the end of the day will raise funds for local and national LGBTQ organizations.