CLEVELAND — For the first time, the NFL Draft is serving as a catalyst for a summit that will host conversations about a more progressive reality in sports.
Sports as we know it will be the topic of conversation the last week of April in Cleveland.
“Basically, a celebration of sport and the power of sport to promote diversity, inclusion and equity,” Rachel Stentz-Baugher with the Greater Cleveland Sports said.
Dialogue revolving around inclusion will be scattered through Progressive Field at the first-ever Cleveland Power of Sport Summit.
“The NFL Draft gives us an opportunity to talk about this because the NFL has really been progressive in the last several years to really try and promote equality,” Baugher said.
Topics available for conversation will include LGBTQ rights laws, women in sports, athletes' mental health and more.
According to Baugher, the idea is to have progressive and open conversations about how to be more inclusive.
“When was the last time you walked away from a conversation and said 'hey, I never looked at it that way and I'm glad you brought it up',” Co-found of the Community Cup Classic Foundation, Juan Goodwin, said.
“Sports is the greatest vehicle to create unity,” Ryan Virtue with the Positive Coaching Alliance said.
Goodwin and Virtue are two leaders of organizations that are taking part in the summit. They're approaching summit-goers differently. Virtue said his alliance is targeting coaches, while Goodwin told 3News his organization is targeting athletes for post-season jobs. Despite that, their end goals are the same.
“The definition of coach is really to get someone from point A to point B,” Virtue said. "We want to provide an opportunity for them to learn and understand what they can do to improve the scenarios for kids.”
“We look forward to grabbing that ball and continue pushing it down the field,” Goodwin said. “It's about sports and social change, but when you think about those two words, you never really think about them together.”
The summit will run the same days at the NFL Draft, April 29 through May 1.
If you'd like to participate, you're asked to register. Click here for more information about the summit.