PORTLAND, Ore. – The second annual Nike LGBT Sports Summit started this week at the same time the city gears up for the Portland Pride Festival.
The summit held in downtown Portland includes more than 100 leaders in LGBT sports community. There are various initiatives, all centered around ending bias and discrimination of LGBT athletes and their fans.
Cyd Zeigler of OutSports.com is one of the founders of the summit, and credits Nike for hosting the event.
“I cannot express how big Nike’s support is," Zeigler said. "They really stepped up to the plate. Last year they kind of dipped their toe in. This year they are diving head first. And I think what they’ve seen is their consumers and their fans are very much okay with this, and a lot of them love that Nike is supporting this.”
At the same time, Nike is rolling out its second year of "Be True" merchandise with rainbow colors. LGBT advocates in Portland think the Oregon-based sports apparel giant is on the right track for gay and transgender athletes, and for its own bottom line.
"When you’re a good corporate citizen you’re gonna stand up and deliver those kinds of messages that really resonate with a broad audience. And that “Be True” campaign resonates no matter what age you are,” said Barbara McCullough-Jones, executive director of Portland’s Q Center.
From Jason Collins of the NBA, to Brittney Griner of the WNBA, to professional soccer stars Robbie Rogers and Megan Rapinoe, who played for the University of Portland Pilots before going pro, it has been a year of coming out for major sports athletes.
. Some of the summit participants will stay in Portland and join the Pride Parade this Saturday.