Associates of both New York Giants and the New England Patriots, facing off in the Super Bowl, see LGBT equality as a winning issue off the field.
Giants owner Steve Tisch recorded a video for the Human Rights Campaign’s marriage equality push in 2011. “I am proud to join the chorus of professionals in sports working for fairness both on and off the field,” he said in the video, released as New Yorkers were debating the legalization of same-sex marriage.
Former Giants defensive end Michael Strahan, now a Fox Sports commentator, also recorded a marriage equality video. He said he played the game tough but fair, and it’s unfair to stop committed couples from marrying.
Across the line, New England safety Bret Lockett posed for the NOH8 campaign protesting California’s anti-gay Proposition 8.
Also, the Patriots are the first team to send a representative to the Gay Bowl, the championship game for the National Gay Football League.
And throughout the NFL, an anti-discrimination policy that includes sexual orientation applies.
Language in the collective bargaining agreement approved last year states: “Section 1. No Discrimination: There will be no discrimination in any form against any player by the Management Council, any Club or by the NFLPA [NFL Players Association] because of race, religion, national origin, sexual orientation, or activity or lack of activity on behalf of the NFLPA.”
Sexual orientation was not included in the 2006 collective bargaining agreement.
At the time the provision was added, players association spokesman George Atallah said, “We certainly believe, speaking for the players association, that we have a tremendous social and cultural impact. We definitely understand the effect that we have on society and culture, and we feel we have a responsibility to have very high standards. With something like discrimination of any kind, we just want to make sure we are a symbol for good.”