For the first time ever, the National Football League (NFL) and Major League Baseball (MLB) will sashay their way through the NYC Pride March on Sunday, June 24. They will join three other major professional leagues — the National Hockey League (NHL), National Basketball Association (NBA) and Women’s National Basketball Association (WNBA) — to make this year’s Pride March the most sports-infused ever. Major League Soccer and the National Women’s Hockey League will have employees and players marching as well.
Our friends over at Outsports have reported that the NFL will have a float in the parade featuring former player Ryan O’Callaghan, who came out publicly last year. Former defensive back Wade Davis, who played for the Tennessee Titans, Seattle Seahawks and Washington Redskins, and who came out in 2012 after he’d left the game, will march as well. Davis is now an activist and educator who works closely with the league to further LGBTQ inclusion.
MLB will feature a huge contingent of about 200 employees, including openly gay former umpire Dale Scott and gay MLB executive and former player Billy Bean. Also on that float will be deputy commissioner Dan Halem. In addition, MLB employees will volunteer at the Pride run and Youth Pride on Saturday, June 23.
The NHL participated last year, and the NBA and WNBA were the first sports leagues to participate in the NYC Pride March in 2016. NBA commissioner Adam Silver turned up by surprise on last year’s float, waving a rainbow flag.
Set for Sunday, June 24, the NYC Pride March will feature 40,000 marchers from 350 different groups, with millions of spectators looking on. Tennis star Billie Jean King, who famously defeated Bobby Riggs in 1973’s “Battle of the Sexes,” is serving as one of this year’s grand marshals.