L.A. Rams Become First NFL Team To Officially Sponsor A Pride Event

"Inclusion has always been a valued part of our organization."

The L.A. Rams have become the first team in the NFL to officially sponsor a Pride event.

The team partnered with Venice Pride, which produces a massive annual street party, and is sponsored lighting up the iconic “Venice” sign with rainbow colors.

“It opens a place for our community within the NFL,” Venice Pride director Grant Turck. “The ultimate message is: inclusion wins. If you choose to be inclusive, that’s the more prosperous approach, not just for the LGBTQ community but for everybody.”

A Rams spokesperson said the team is proud to “stand in alignment with the LGBT community that is such an important part of the fabric of Los Angeles.” In 2014, the Rams drafted Michael Sam, the first openly gay player in NFL history. (The team was also the first to sign an African-American, in 1946.)

“Inclusion has always been a valued part of our organization and we see this as a unique way to publicly celebrate the diversity that makes this community so special.”

The L.A. Chargers are also sponsoring the sign lighting, but the Rams signed on to sponsor the letter “C ” first, in early May, so they’re getting credit for being first. (That’s the kind of rivalry we can get behind.)

“Equity, diversity and inclusion are as fundamental to our organization as bump-and-run coverage, the three-step drop and gap technique,” said Chargers VP Kimberley Layton, using terms that sent us running to Google. “We could not be more excited to partner with Venice Pride and support our LGBTQ community.”

Dan Avery is a writer-editor who focuses on culture, breaking news and LGBT rights. His work has appeared in Newsweek, The New York Times, Time Out New York, The Advocate and elsewhere.