Washington Football Team to host rare NFL Pride Night vs. Giants on Thursday

Thursday's home game against the New York Giants will mark the Washington Football Team's first divisional game of the season.

It will also be a landmark for the franchise.

Washington will welcome the LGBTQ community with an official Pride Night, a rarity in the NFL and a first for the team. The Detroit Lions hosted a similar event in 2019. The news arrives months after Las Vegas Raiders defensive end Carl Nassib announced himself as the league's first openly gay active player, a milestone for the NFL and American sports.

What does this mean?

The Washington Football Team has reserved blocks of tickets at different prices throughout FedEx Field for Pride Night attendees to watch the game together. The team will also host a pregame party with beer, wine and food for Pride Night guests.

Per Washington's Metro Weekly, the Gay Men’s Chorus of Washington and LGBTQ marching band DC’s Different Drummers will perform at the game. Per the Washington Blade, the Washington Football Team will join the Capitals, Wizards, Mystics, Kastles, Spirit, Prodigy, DC United, Old Glory DC and Citi Open in hosting Pride Night events in conjunction with organizer Team DC. The Nationals have also hosted similar events.

BREMEN, GERMANY - AUGUST 29: the rainbow corner flag is pictured during the Second Bundesliga match between SV Werder Bremen and FC Hansa Rostock at Wohninvest Weserstadion on August 29, 2021 in Bremen, Germany. (Photo by Selim Sudheimer/Getty Images)
(Selim Sudheimer/Getty Images)

Why does it matter?

Pride Night events like Washington's offer football fans in the LGBTQ community a sense of welcome and inclusion that isn't always present in sports arenas.

“Establishing these relationships is important and who knows where this leads when you are embraced in a positive way," Team DC organizer Brent Minor told the Blade. "When you can break down a barrier between the LGBTQ community and the NFL, that’s rarefied air.”

Minor said that his organization considered organizing events with the franchise, but waited until the team changed its name to put Thursday's event together.

“We don’t want these community nights to just be a monetary transaction, we want to build bridges and encourage inclusion.”