Today, Leaders in Sport announced the Tampa Bay Buccaneers as the winner of the 2021 Inclusion Award for the team's efforts as a Leader in Gender Equality. The announcement was made at Twickenham Stadium in London at the 7th annual Leaders Sports Awards banquet, celebrating organizations and individuals from around the globe that are pushing boundaries and setting the example throughout the sports industry.
"The Buccaneers are honored to be recognized by Leaders in Sport as an organization committed to advancing gender equality and diversity through football," said Darcie Glazer Kassewitz, Buccaneers Co-Owner. "Establishing a culture of inclusivity is important to the team and our belief in supporting opportunities for individuals from all backgrounds."
For the 2021 Leaders Sports Awards Inclusion Award, Leaders in Sport evaluated projects and initiatives that foster inclusion, equality and diversity, and appeal to communities irrespective of age, sexuality, gender, disability, religion or belief. The category focuses on uncovering and honoring the organizations driving the sports industry forward through an array of projects and initiatives that demonstrate how sports can be used to positively influence societal change.
"The Tampa Bay Buccaneers' work as a Leader in Gender Equality is the embodiment of the Inclusion category," said Leaders in Sport. "Through the team and the Tampa Bay Buccaneers Foundation, their programs have created change in a male-dominated industry, demonstrating how football is a game for everyone, regardless of gender. The Inclusion Award is designed to celebrate and award those who have challenged the norm within sport; therefore, we're pleased to announce the Tampa Bay Buccaneers as the 2021 Leaders in Sport Inclusion Category Winners."
Other finalists for the Inclusion Award were the San Francisco 49ers, Valencia Football Club, the Sir Stanley Matthews Foundation and North London United, and Women in Football (WIF). Thursday's awards banquet was the final event of Leaders Week London, an annual gathering of more than 1,000 leading innovators and professionals for a unique series of presentations, knowledge-sharing, experiential networking and events. Leaders in Sport, launched in 2008, connects senior industry leaders and creates essential market intelligence to help grow and develop sports business and sports performance throughout the world.
On the field and in the community, the Buccaneers have been at the forefront in supporting gender equality, establishing programs that demonstrate how football is very much a game, and business, that is coached by, played by, and also run by women.
Community impact efforts are led by the Glazer family and Co-owner Darcie Glazer Kassewitz, one of the few women holding an NFL ownership role. Under Kassewitz' leadership, the Buccaneers have established the Jr. Bucs Girls Flag Football League, Tampa's first girls flag football league, and the Jr. Bucs School Program, the single largest in-school program in team history. Impacting nearly 200,000 students in 300 schools across Tampa Bay, the initiative supports physical education and flag football programming in every elementary and middle school throughout the area.
Last year, the Buccaneers launched the Girls in Football Scholarship, becoming the first NFL team to create an academic college scholarship for high school seniors who play football and are pursuing a career in sports. This nationwide scholarship aligns with many student-athletes who compete in the Buccaneers Girls Flag Football Preseason Classic, presented by AdventHealth, the largest flag football tournament in the country that shines a light on girls flag football, a sanctioned varsity sport in Florida.
The Buccaneers have actively supported the NFL's Women's Careers in Football Forum, with annual participation by Kassewitz, Bruce Arians, and coaches Lori Locust and Maral Javadifar – the first female coaches to win a Super Bowl. This year, the team doubled down on that commitment with the launch of the Buccaneers Women's Summit for Careers in Football, a first-of-its-kind program ran by an NFL club featuring interactive sessions with senior coaching staff and club executives. The program is already strengthening the pipeline of women pursuing opportunities in football, with numerous participants landing full-time roles in the sport – another example of the team's impact on and off the field.
To learn more on the team's community impact initiatives, visit Buccaneers.com/community. To see more from the 2021 Leaders Sports Awards and Leaders in Sport, visit leadersinsport.com.