NFL Team Hit with Backlash After Sponsoring 'Gay Flag Football League' in Controversial Move - 'No Way This Is Real'


Editor’s Note: Our readers responded strongly to this story when it originally ran; we’re reposting it here in case you missed it.

This is unexpected.

The Buffalo Bills, of all NFL franchises, are under some social media fire after the team revealed it was sponsoring the local chapter of the National Gay Flag Football League.

“The Buffalo Bills are proud to support the National Gay Flag Football League (NGFFL) with a sponsorship to launch a chapter in Buffalo,” the team announced on June 18. “The NGFFL is a non profit sports organization that seeks to promote the positive social and athletic enjoyment of American flag football.”

“We are thrilled to bring inclusive flag football to Buffalo with the support of the Buffalo Bills. This exciting addition joins 27 other cities, and over 4,000 players, including straight allies, in the National Gay Flag Football League,” NGFFL commissioner Joel Horton said.

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Horton continued: “Our mission is to unite the community through the spirit of competition while celebrating our diversity. By fostering an environment where everyone is welcome, we aim to build a stronger, more inclusive Buffalo.

“Together, with the backing of the Buffalo Bills, we are creating a space where all individuals can participate, compete, and thrive.”

The move was met with quite a bit of derision and mockery on social media.

Online reporter Nick Sortor posted the Bills’ announcement online, noting that he thought it was “a freaking parody” initially.

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The responses under Sortor’s post were blistering.

“What!” one X user exclaimed. “I hate the NFL.”

Another user refused to accept it altogether: “Noooooooo. This has to be satire. There is no way this is real.”

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Now, it should be noted that the Bills are hardly the first team to launch into some partnership with the NGFFL, which has been around since 2002.

As the Bills noted in the team’s announcement, the New York Giants, the New England Patriots, the New York Jets, the Miami Dolphins, the Arizona Cardinals, the Chicago Bears, the Washington Commanders and the Seattle Seahawks all have some sort of working partnership with the NGFFL.

The reason the Bills appear to be getting far more flak than any of those other teams is because of the city of Buffalo and western New York.

Unlike some of the more traditional liberalism one might associate with New York City proper, western New York is a far more conservative place than most people give it credit for.

Yes, Buffalo itself is about as liberal as any modern metropolis in 2024, but the area of western New York is generally where you will find larger doses of conservative sentiments.

Compare that with the other NGFFL-associated teams:

  • The other “New York” teams play in New Jersey, which is a fairly blue state.
  • Miami is about as liberal of a place as you’ll find in Florida.
  • The entire New England area is deep blue and liberal.
  • Arizona has become a deeply purple state in recent years.
  • Chicago, Washington and Seattle are all very blue cities.

None of those places — save for perhaps Arizona — is remotely similar to western New York. That, again, makes the Bills’ decision so jarring for many.

Perhaps catching a whiff of the public backlash, the Bills did not post about their NGFFL sponsorship on X.

They did post it on Instagram, where a large number of the comments were similarly mocking and derisive.

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Bryan Chai has written news and sports for The Western Journal for more than five years and has produced more than 1,300 stories. He specializes in the NBA and NFL as well as politics.
Bryan Chai has written news and sports for The Western Journal for more than five years and has produced more than 1,300 stories. He specializes in the NBA and NFL as well as politics. He graduated with a BA in Creative Writing from the University of Arizona. He is an avid fan of sports, video games, politics and debate.
Class of 2010 University of Arizona. BEAR DOWN.
Phoenix, Arizona
Languages Spoken
English, Korean
Topics of Expertise
Sports, Entertainment, Science/Tech