Grant Hill, Michael Sam, Dr. Renee Richards, and Salesforce Honored by Athlete Ally

[photo credit: Jason Black – L to R: Lori Lindsey, Tamia, Dr. Renee Richards, Grant Hill, Christine Quinn, Hudson Taylor, Rob Smith]


Contact: Sarah Kennedy,, 347-585-6840

Last night Athlete Ally, a nonprofit focused on educating and activating athletes to champion LGBT equality, honored basketball legend Grant Hill, NFL pioneer Michael Sam, tennis champion Dr. Renée Richards, and corporate leader Salesforce at the organization’s annual Athlete Ally Action Awards.

The event was held at the 40/40 Club in Manhattan, and among attendees and award presenters were VIPs who support Athlete Ally’s mission, including former NBA Commissioner David Stern, MLB’s Lindsay Berra, USWNT soccer player Lori Lindsey, and R&B recording artist Tamia. Renowned opera singer Sidney Outlaw also performed at the event.

Grant Hill is an ally to LGBT people, who most memorably spoke out in a PSA video in partnership with GLSEN, where he encourages young people to consider that words have consequences, we’re accountable for the things we say, words have meaning. “Being a part of the Athlete Ally Action Awards was important to me, because I believe that as athletes, we have a responsibility to use our platform to stand up for equality any time we can,” Hill said. “I’m proud to be honored for my work speaking up against anti-gay slurs, and I look forward to continuing my commitment to ensuring a safe and welcoming environment for every fan, athlete and coach, regardless of sexual orientation or gender identity.”

David Stern presented the Athlete Ally Action Award to Hill.

Michael Sam, who made history in 2014 by becoming the first openly gay player in the NFL, said: “It was amazing to be honored by Athlete Ally. Eliminating homophobia and transphobia in sports, as you can imagine, is something that is very important to me. Sports will continue to evolve into a more inclusive place every time another athlete ally takes a stand and says they support LGBT players and fans, that it doesn’t matter who you are, but how well you play the game. One day soon, the day will come when Athlete Ally’s mission becomes a reality for every athlete and fan.”

Jude Waddy, former Green Bay Packers linebacker and NFLPA NY/NJ Chapter President,presented the Athlete Ally Action Award to Sam.

Dr. Renée Richards’ tennis career spans decades, and she successfully changed policies within the Women’s Tennis Association (WTA) and the United States Open Committee to make both organizations more transgender-inclusive: “I am proud to be honored by Athlete Ally with an Action Award. When I became the pioneer for inclusion in tennis in the 1970s, I was thinking about how much I love to play. Everyone should be able to participate in the sports they love, including transgender people. That’s why Athlete Ally’s work is so critical. I look forward to a day when all transgender athletes, coaches, and fans are included fully in our athletic communities.”

Transgender community leader and Athlete Ally Board Member Meghan Stabler presented the Athlete Ally Action Award to Dr. Richards.

Salesforce demonstrated strong allyship to the LGBT community in 2015 as an anti-LGBT piece of legislation was on the table in Indiana. “Salesforce was proud to put our strong allyship to the LGBT community into action this year as an anti-LGBT piece of legislation was on the table in Indiana,” said Salesforce Marketing Cloud CEO Scott McCorkle, who accepted the award on behalf of Salesforce. “After that bill was passed into law, we put pressure on Indiana’s legislators to amend the law. Salesforce values equality and diversity, and we strive to see those values recognized not just in the workplace but in the communities where we live and where we do business.”

Former US National Women’s Soccer Team player Lori Lindsey presented the Athlete Ally Action Award to Scott McCorkle, CEO of Salesforce Cloud.

Last year’s Athlete Ally Action Awards honored baseball pioneer Yogi Berra, tennis champion James Blake, the NBA’s first openly gay player Jason Collins, tennis great Martina Navratilova, KPMG, and the Women’s National Basketball Association (WNBA).

Please contact sarah.kennedy[at]athleteally[dot]org for full high-res photo album when available.

More information about the event can be found at

Athlete Ally’s mission is to educate and activate athletic communities to exercise their leadership to champion LGBT equality. Founded in 2012, Athlete Ally has worked with the NBA, WNBA, and MLB on matters of respect and inclusion; led the Principle 6 campaign that convinced the International Olympic Committee to include sexual orientation in the non-discrimination clause of the Olympic Charter; and counts more than 130 college, professional, and Olympic athletes among its dedicated and active Ambassadors.