NFL Touchdown on #SpiritDay!

By |
October 21, 2022

The National Football League took a stand against anti-LGBTQ bullying on Thursday in support of Spirit Day 2022. The league is continuing their commitment to LGBTQ equality following last season's inaugural Superbowl event, A Night of Pride, and is now stepping up their support once again. Players, cheerleaders and coaches went all in to support LGBTQ youth.

This year, NFL Media produced a PSA in partnership with GLAAD, emphasizing the importance of taking a stand against bullying and discrimination of LGBTQ youth. The video features NFL Network talent Kimmi Chex from Forbes’ 30 under 30, Emmy award winning James Palmer, and Emmy award winning sportcaster MJ Acosta Ruiz, as well as Tampa Bay Buccaneers’ outside linebacker Carl Nassib who was the first active NFL player to come out publicly and Arizona Cardinals’ tight end Trey McBride, who is the first NFL player with lesbian parents. 

The PSA also features members of the Carolina Panthers Top Cats Cheerleaders, Javontre Booker, Ebonee Bryant-Smith, Chris Crawford, and Justine Lindsay – who became the NFL’s first openly transgender cheerleader this year. All participants featured in the PSA echo the importance of being allies, standing up for LGBTQ youth across the country and wearing purple as part of the Spirit Day pledge.

“The NFL is proud to continue our support of GLAAD’s Spirit Day initiative, which encourages LGBTQ youth to be themselves and others to support them and put an end to bullying,” said NFL Chief Diversity Officer and Senior Vice President Jonathan Beane. “This year, we produced a PSA with some of the NFL’s powerful members of the LGBTQ community alongside allies to emphasize how important it is to support LGBTQ youth not only just today through wearing purple, but year-round.”

The NFL works with GLAAD as a partner year-round as part of the League’s commitment to creating a more diverse and inclusive NFL.

The PSA made its way to the NFL Instagram in a collaborative post with GLAAD too. Check it out here or on LinkedIn. Even Amazon Prime Video, catching the viewership of millions, featured the NFL Spirit Day PSA. The support shows that all LGBTQ youth deserve to show up anywhere and everywhere in the world. The PSA aired on the NFL network including twice in last night's game, on NFL Now and Fantasy Live. 

The support for LGBTQ youth was also expressed on Good Morning Football where the PSA was shown another two times. GLAAD’s VP of Talent and Communications Anthony Allen Ramos caught up with GMFB Host Kay Adams about Spirit Day and standing by our athletic LGBTQ youth. 

"Spirit Day is the most visible days of the year when the world comes together to take a stand against LGBTQ youth bullying. And by wearing purple, it's really the color of spirit, it's a color that our community really connects with," Ramos said in the interview. "This day started in 2010, and since then it's become the most important day with parents [and] with kids. There are so many things happening in schools: cyberbullying and beyond. This day is a really easy way to get involved and say: 'You know what, bullying is not okay with me.'" See the GMFB clip below and the full interview here

MJ Acosta-Ruiz not only made her support known in the PSA, but on her Twitter with a video reminding allies that their LGBTQ allyship can save lives. 

NFL Fantasy Football Anaylst Michael F. Florio also repped his support by sporting his purple kicks for his Twitter base. We see you Mike! 

About Spirit Day:

America is going purple for GLAAD’s Spirit Day in support of LGBTQ youth and taking a stand against bullying. GLAAD organizes hundreds of celebrities, media outlets, brands, landmarks, sports leagues, tech leaders, influencers, faith groups, school districts, organizations, colleges and universities in what has become the most visible anti-LGBTQ bullying campaign in the world. Purple symbolizes spirit on the rainbow flag.

The annual tradition was started in 2010 by high school student Brittany McMillan, in memory of the LGBTQ youth who lost their lives to suicide. McMillian encouraged her friends to wear purple on a day in October -- a day that came to be known as Spirit Day.  

Presenting sponsors Kellogg’s, Sally Hansen and Visible with Community Sponsors NFL, Amazon Corporate Security, Kirkland & Ellis and L’Oreal/ Victor & Rolf will all participate in Spirit Day.

Today, LGBTQ youth, and especially our trans and nonbinary youth, are experiencing a level of  scrutiny in schools we have never seen, leading to an environment rife with stressors beyond the peer-to-peer bullying of the past. From book bans to sports teams bans, to bathroom restrictions and teachers barred from using preferred pronouns, the means by which a student can express themselves and see others like them are increasingly being challenged.  

Cyberbullying is at an all time high as well.

GLAAD’s 2022 Social Media Safety Index found severe harassment for LGBTQ users when compared to 2021. This anti-LGBTQ rhetoric then translates to real-life harm and has been cited as drivers of many of the nearly 250 anti-LGBTQ bills introduced in states around the country this year alone, many of which target our LGBTQ youth.  

This year, Spirit Day is on October 20, 2022 and offers LGBTQ youth and their families a means of representation and existence only made possible by providing life-saving visibility for those who need it more than ever. Take the Spirit Day pledge to show LGBTQ youth you've got their backs at Follow @GLAAD on Twitter, Facebook, Instagram and TikTok to keep up to date with #SpiritDay news.