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NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell promises to support LGBTQ+ players: 'We will have their back'

Commissioner Roger Goodell speaks Night Of Pride GLAAD NFL
Josh Brasted/Getty Images

"Diversity makes us better and LGBTQ people continue to contribute to the success of the NFL," Commissioner Roger Goodell recently said.

National Football League Commissioner Roger Goodell is standing by LGBTQ+ players and staff.

The NFL titan recently told Outsports about some of the pivotal actions he's taken as commissioner to include the queer community in America's most popular sport. While the coming out of defensive end Carl Nassib pushed him towards some of the developments, Goodell said that he's always been open to growing the game.

“One of the most important jobs I have as commissioner is to listen,” he said.

Long before his time in the NFL, Goodell was a fierce ally to his younger brother, Michael, who is gay. Michael told TIME Magazine in 2012 that Goodell would often fight the bullies who attempted to torment him, stating that he "would have been beat up a lot" if not for his brother's protection.

“I love Michael and I’m proud of him,” Goodell says now.

The commissioner takes pride in the progress the league has made throughout his years, including its partnership with the Trevor Project, which he said is “boosting awareness of this life-saving organization." Goodell also noted the NFL's "powerful" Pride events with GLAAD, including promoting the LGBTQ+ groups during the Super Bowl.

"Creating a space for the LGBTQ community and allies during our biggest week sends a message that we value inclusion and opportunity for all," he continued.

While the NFL does not currently have an active player who is out, Goodell said that going forward, any who do wish to speak publicly about their identity will have the full support of the league.

“Both publicly and privately, I’ve made clear that if any member of the NFL family comes out, we will have their back," he said. “Each coming out has confirmed what I’ve always known to be true: Diversity makes us better and LGBTQ people continue to contribute to the success of the NFL.”

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Ryan Adamczeski

Ryan is a staff writer at The Advocate, and a graduate of New York University Tisch's Department of Dramatic Writing, with a focus in television writing and comedy. She first became a published author at the age of 15 with her YA novel "Someone Else's Stars," and is now a member of GALECA, the LGBTQ+ society of entertainment critics. In her free time, Ryan likes watching New York Rangers hockey, listening to the Beach Boys, and practicing witchcraft.
Ryan is a staff writer at The Advocate, and a graduate of New York University Tisch's Department of Dramatic Writing, with a focus in television writing and comedy. She first became a published author at the age of 15 with her YA novel "Someone Else's Stars," and is now a member of GALECA, the LGBTQ+ society of entertainment critics. In her free time, Ryan likes watching New York Rangers hockey, listening to the Beach Boys, and practicing witchcraft.