Sports hall of fame to induct LGBT athletes on Friday

2013_Williams_Claiming-Williams_RI_0145The run-up to the second induction ceremony for the National Gay and Lesbian Sports Hall of Fame has been almost perfect.

Founder and board president Bill Gubrud has picked up more corporate partners, including Days Inn for lodging and Horizon Cafe for catering.

The induction ceremony’s partner event, the annual Out at Wrigley, has sold out.

And the commissioners of North America’s Big Four pro sports—Major League Baseball, the National Football League, the National Basketball Association and the National Hockey League—have sent letters recognizing the event and celebrating their contributions to inclusiveness.

About the only down note: for the second straight year, one of the inductees is on the disabled list. Former NFL player and executive director of You Can Play Wade Davis will miss Friday’s induction ceremony at the Center on Halsted after suffering a broken ankle recently.

Last year, another out former NFL player, David Kopay, had to cancel plans to attend after cutting his hand in a gardening accident.

Other than that, it’s been smooth sailing in the run-up to the Hall of Fame weekend, according to Gubrud.

“We have new people on the board who have been absolutely tremendous,” he said.

Also helping out have been last year’s initial inductees. One, baseball writer Christina Kahrl, will host the ceremony. Others have helped reach out to this year’s inductees: “It’s been a godsend,” Gubrud said.

Even with Davis being sidelined, Gubrud expects a good turnout of inductees. Scheduled to attend are former major leaguer Billy Bean, former NFL player Esera Tuaolo, mixed martian arts competitor Fallon Fox, triathlete and founded of Chris Mosier and representatives of the late rugby player Mark Bingham along with Nike and the Stand Up Foundation.

Another inductee, WNBA basketball star Brittany Griner, has a good reason for missing the induction ceremony—she’ll be playing a few miles away for the Phoenix Mercury against the Chicago Sky Friday night.

Also being honored: former NBA player John Amaechi, Olympic diver Tom Daley, late San Francisco Mayor George Moscone, endurance swimmer Diana Nyad, late NFL player Jerry Smith and former rugby player Gareth Thomas.

Though Saturday’s Out at Wrigley event at the Cubs’ 3:05 p.m. game against the Atlanta Braves is sold out, tickets remain for the Hall of Fame ceremony at $30 apiece or two for $50.

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