Seattle Wheel

Sounders FC unites with fellow Seattle professional sports teams to support LGBT equality

SEATTLE, WASH. - Sounders FC today announced, in conjunction with its fellow Seattle professional sports teams and national nonprofit Athlete Ally, a coordinated commitment to supporting and celebrating LGBT equality ahead of team Pride Month activities. The efforts mark an unprecedented partnership between a city's professional sports teams as they join in a cooperative endeavor to stand in solidarity with the LGBT community.

On Tuesday, June 20, the five clubs are set to hold a joint press conference at 3:00 p.m. PT in The NINETY, Sounders FC's event space on Occidental Avenue in Pioneer Square. Representatives from each of Seattle's five professional sports teams - the Seattle Mariners, Reign FC, Seattle Seahawks, Sounders FC and Seattle Storm - are scheduled to speak about their continued commitment to LGBT equality efforts and the athletic community's support of its LGBT players, fans, coaches, officials and administrators. As part of this commitment, the teams have worked with Athlete Ally, a nonprofit aimed at fostering a culture where athletic communities, and all of whom they influence, advance LGBT and gender equality in sports and under the law.

Members of the media wishing to attend the press conference should RSVP with Kelly Schutz of Sounders FC Communications [] or Taylor Carr of Athlete Ally Communications [].

"With the unique place that sport has in our culture, it's incredibly important that teams take advantage of their platforms in order to make a difference," said Sounders FC Owner Adrian Hanauer. "The Seattle community has long been dedicated to supporting inclusiveness and advancing rights for all citizens, and the Sounders are thrilled to come together with our fellow professional teams to highlight our commitment to those ideals."

READ: Q&A with Athlete Ally founder Hudson Taylor

"The Seattle sports community continues to demonstrate the power of sport in standing up and speaking out for LGBT equality," said Hudson Taylor, founder and Executive Director of Athlete Ally. "This effort is once again proving that the athletic community won't be sidelined in the fight for LGBT equality on the field and under the law."

The press conference features Athlete Ally leadership, as well as athletes and executives from Seattle's five professional sports teams, all coming together to reaffirm the commitment of their organizations to the values of respect, inclusion and equality.

Debuting at the event - and available for media use afterward - is a public service announcement featuring Brad Evans and Chad Marshall of Sounders FC, Megan Rapinoe of Reign FC, James Paxton of the Seattle Mariners, Doug Baldwin of the Seattle Seahawks and Sue Bird of the Seattle Storm. Created to show the unity within the Emerald City on the principles of equality in sport, the PSA is being shared by all teams, featured at the four upcoming Pride games for clubs currently in season and spread nationwide on the Athlete Ally platform.

Representing their clubs at the press conference are Seattle Mariners CEO John Stanton; Reign FC forwards Megan Rapinoe and Beverly Yanez, midfielder Jess Fishlock and goalkeeper Madalyn Schiffel; Seattle Seahawks wide receiver Doug Baldwin; Sounders FC Owner Adrian Hanauer and defenders Brad Evans and Chad Marshall; and Seattle Storm President & General Manager Alisha Valavanis.

In addition, Athlete Ally Executive Director Hudson Taylor and Athlete Ally Ambassador and World Cup Champion Mary Harvey will be in attendance to discuss Seattle's participation in the Athlete Ally Ambassador program. Seattle athlete Ambassadors include Evans, Marshall, Rapinoe, Fishlock, Yanez, Schiffel, Paxton and Bird.

Furthermore, the five teams plan to unveil at the press conference five one-of-kind jerseys, each with a nameplate reading EQUALITY and autographed by the respective team's PSA representative as listed above. These jerseys will be auctioned off by the Greater Seattle Business Association at a later date, with all proceeds benefiting the GSBA Scholarship Fund, which awards educational scholarships to Washington State LGBTQ and allied students who exhibit leadership potential, demonstrate strong academic ability and are actively involved in school and community organizations.

In the days following the June 20 announcement, Sounders FC, the Mariners, the Storm and Reign FC host their annual Pride games. Sounders FC kicks things off with a 7:30 p.m. PT match against Orlando City SC on Wednesday, June 21, followed by the Mariners taking on the Detroit Tigers at 7:10 p.m. PT on Thursday, June 22, the Seattle Storm hosting the Phoenix Mercury at 7:00 p.m. PT on Friday, June 23 and Reign FC battling FC Kansas City at 7:00 p.m. PT on Saturday, June 24.

Athlete Ally is set to be onsite with a booth at each of these Pride matches to educate fans about the Athlete Ally program, take fan pledges to become allies and to hand out "Pride Passports." Fans can get their Pride Passport stamped at each team's Pride Night game and, once two or more stamps have been collected, the card is returned to the Athlete Ally booth and that fan is then entered into a contest to win one of three prize packs. Each Pride Passport prize pack contains items from each of the five Seattle teams in the form of game tickets and autographed memorabilia.

WHAT: Joint Pride press conference

WHO: Representatives from all five Seattle professional sports teams and nonprofit Athlete Ally

Seattle Mariners CEO John Stanton

Seattle Reign FC forwards Megan Rapinoe and Beverly Yanez, midfielder Jess Fishlock and goalkeeper Madalyn Schiffel

Seattle Seahawks wide receiver Doug Baldwin

Seattle Sounders FC Owner Adrian Hanauer

Seattle Sounders FC defenders Brad Evans and Chad Marshall

Seattle Storm President & General Manager Alisha Valavanis

Athlete Ally Executive Director Hudson Taylor

Athlete Ally Ambassador Mary Harvey

WHEN: Tuesday, June 20 at 3:00 p.m. PT

WHERE: The NINETY (406 Occidental Avenue S, Seattle, WA 98104)

HOW: RSVP by sending an email to Kelly Schutz [] or Taylor Carr []