Golden State Warriors President & COO Rick Welts to be honored at GLAAD Gala San Francisco: Game Changers

Highest ranking openly gay executive in men's professional team sports to receive GLAAD's Davidson/Valentini Award; Warriors Assistant Coach Jarron Collins to present the honor
August 29, 2014

Seth Adam
Director of Communications, GLAAD
(646) 871-8018

San Francisco, Friday, August 29, 2014 – GLAAD, the nation’s lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender (LGBT) media advocacy organization, today announced it will honor Golden State Warriors President and Chief Operating Officer Rick Welts at GLAAD Gala San Francisco: Game Changers at the Hilton San Francisco Union Square on September 13, 2014.

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GLAAD Gala San Francisco: Game Changers is presented nationally by Ketel One Vodka, Wells Fargo, and Hilton Worldwide. The event is presented locally by Southwest Airlines. The event will be hosted by “Orange is the New Black” star Taryn Manning and will feature a special performance by “Glee” star Alex Newell.

At the gala, Welts will receive GLAAD’s Davidson/Valentini Award, which is presented to an LGBT media professional who has made a significant difference in promoting equality for the LGBT community. The award is named after Craig Davidson, GLAAD's first executive director, and his partner Michael Valentini. The award will be presented by Golden State Warriors Assistant Coach Jarron Collins, twin brother of Jason Collins, the NBA’s first openly gay active player.

In 2011, Welts came out in a front-page interview with The New York Times, becoming the highest ranking executive in men’s professional team sports to publicly acknowledge he is gay. Since coming out, he has been an outspoken advocate for LGBT inclusion in sports, especially the NBA. Welts currently serves on the advisory board for the You Can Play Project, a national organization dedicated to ensuring equality, respect, and safety for all athletes, without regard to sexual orientation or gender identity. Welts is a leading voice in the national conversation about LGBT equality in sports, and his statements in support of openly gay athletes including Jason Collins and Michael Sam have appeared in outlets such as The Associated Press, USA Today, ESPN, Yahoo Sports, and NPR, among others.

“Rick Welts leveled the playing field,” said GLAAD President & CEO Sarah Kate Ellis. “Rick’s story has been an inspiration to countless LGBT athletes and sports professionals, who are now empowered to share their own stories. His leadership has changed the game for equality in sports.”

“I am extremely honored and humbled to receive the Davidson/Valentini Award,” said Welts. “GLAAD has been a tremendous inspiration to me personally and has certainly helped pave the way for the progress we’ve made in equality in the LGBT community.  I’m happy that I could contribute in a small way and hope to continue to make an impact, along with the likes of GLAAD and many others, in the future.”

GLAAD previously announced that technology leader Google and video-sharing innovator YouTube will receive the Ric Weiland Award, which honors innovators who advance LGBT equality through tech and new media. GLAAD also previously announced that Kris Perry and Sandy Stier, lead plaintiffs in Hollingsworth v. Perry, the landmark case that struck down California’s Proposition 8, will receive the Presidential Local Hero Award at the event.

GLAAD Gala San Francisco: Game Changers recognizes national and Bay Area leaders advancing LGBT equality through the media and also funds GLAAD's national advocacy work to rewrite the script for LGBT equality. Special guests include Taryn Manning, Alex Newell, Tyler Oakley, Hannah Hart, Meghan McCain, and Peter Paige.

To receive the latest updates on GLAAD Gala San Francisco: Game Changers, follow @glaad on Twitter and use the hashtag #glaadgala.

GLAAD Gala San Francisco: Game Changers is also underwritten by Barefoot Wine & Bubbly. For a full list of corporate partners and information on how to become a corporate partner, purchase tickets, and place a tribute in the tribute book, please visit