The Orlando Pride of the National Women's Soccer League has issued a statement apologizing to a supporters' group, the Black Swans, who were told they could not display a banner that said "Gay" at a match last weekend.
The banner in question references Florida's "don't say gay" legislation. The Black Swans took to Twitter, tweeting that the sign was removed because it was considered political.
Saturday's match was the opening game of the NWSL's preseason Challenge Cup and the Pride was playing against the Washington Spirit when the sign was ordered to be taken down.
The Prides' statement, in part, said, "Over the past two days, the Orlando Pride leadership team has taken part in numerous discussions with supporters, players, front office and team staff, as well as community leaders in LGBTQ+ activism, to address, listen and learn from Saturday's events. These conversations resulted in one ultimate and important conclusion: a mistake was made when the Club asked the Black Swans to remove the banner that said 'GAY.' The organization admits it wrongly focused on signage policies and procedures, instead of allowing the important meaning of this message."
The statement went on to say that leadership hadn't considered the meaning of the message, and added, "It is a privilege and duty to create a safe, inclusive environment at Orlando Pride matches, and the Club deeply apologizes for violating that trust through this incorrect decision. Moving forward, the Black Swans have approval to hang the banner at Pride home matches if they wish to do so. Over its seven-year history, the Orlando Pride and its players have been on the forefront of supporting equality initiatives."
The team has 49 rainbow-colored seats at their home stadium to honor those killed in the Pulse nightclub shooting in 2016.
Late last month, the Pride and Major League Soccer's Orlando City issued a statement lambasting the "don't say gay" bill, which is awaiting Gov. Ron DeSantis' signature.