Patriots NFL Team Takes on Anti-LGBTQ+ Trolls Over Pride Display
The team stood up to haters after tweeting a picture of an illuminated Pride flag at its stadium.
The team Wednesday tweeted a photo of the display at Gillette Stadium near Boston, and it was met with some hateful comments. Commenters wondered if the Patriots would hold a “straight month,” said the team should “stick to football,” and reported they were renouncing their fandom. Some got even worse.
The Patriots reminded Twitter users, “Our comment section is monitored and there is no room for hate.” One person said that means the team doesn’t support freedom of speech. But freedom of speech is not absolute. The First Amendment to the U.S. Constitution bars governments from limiting or penalizing speech, but there are exceptions to that. And private companies are free to impose any restrictions they desire. The Patriots received numerous positive comments on the Pride display as well.
Many pro sports teams are celebrating the LGBTQ+ community this month, whether their sports are in season or not. Most Major League Baseball and Major League Soccer teams are holding Pride nights, along with every WNBA team, Outsports reports.
Other teams besides the Patriots are receiving blowback, as many teams have in the past. One Twitter user said it was “gross” for the Colorado Avalanche hockey team to observe Pride, and the Avalanche’s management responded strongly.
The Patriots management has a long history of supporting the LGBTQ+ community, Outsports notes. Among other things, the team was the only one in the NFL to file a friend-of-the-court brief urging the Supreme Court to rule for marriage equality in 2015.
Alex Reimer of Outsports praised the Patriots for standing up to homophobia. “There are real people behind those accounts,” Reimer wrote. “And the Patriots let them know their hatred won’t be tolerated — fan or not. That’s a championship kind of stand.”