In a video statement posted to Facebook, National Gay Flag Football League Commissioner Thurman Williams announced that the league’s board had made the decision to cancel Gay Bowl 2020 planned for Honolulu in October. “The unfortunate truth is while Gay Bowl is in October and it seems to be far away, we cannot forecast what is to come as it concerns COVID-19, and without good conscience, we can’t put at risk the Gay Bowl committee, your local leagues, your finances and the legacy of the NGFFL as part of this decision,” explained Williams.
Transcript of NGFFL Commissioner Thurman Williams video statement:
Hello to our football family and on behalf of the board, I do want to say we recognize that we’re in challenging times and so whether you’re working from home or you’re on the front lines facing the crisis, we recognize that we’ve all been impacted. Our wish is for better days ahead, for all of us.
I wanted to take this time to share on behalf of the board, that a decision has been made regarding Hawaii 2020, and the board unfortunately, and with deep sadness, has to announce that we are cancelling that event. This decision comes from days and hours of deliberation and consultations with all parties and take in to account the current climate within the nation. This decision, while difficult, is prudent.
I know this is difficult for many of you and its unfortunate and difficult for me to announce on behalf of the board, but this represents a time for us to come together and there is recognition that the Gay Bowl is all about celebrating LGBTQ+ athletes and referees that come together with their friends and family from Hawaii to Canada to the corners of Florida. However, the global pandemic we’re currently facing with COVID-19 simply cannot be ignored. The unfortunate truth is while Gay Bowl is in October and it seems to be far away, we cannot forecast what is to come as it concerns COVID-19, and without good conscience, we can’t put at risk the Gay Bowl committee, your local leagues, your finances and the legacy of the NGFFL as part of this decision. And so, all of us can be severely impacted by waiting and waiting to make this difficult decision.
The competition, the social aspect of Gay Bowl was important and we recognize that, however it cannot take precedent over doing what is best, doing what is right for our entire football community. We recognize this decision can be unpopular but we appreciate and thank you for your trust, because this was one of the most difficult decisions we had to make in our history. Our efforts to stay connected do not end with this announcement. I want us all to remain optimistic. We will continue to work diligently together, across our leagues, to find the right cocktail to celebrate all the things the NGFFL represents.
I’m optimistic when all this is over, we’ll be back to business as usual, working to become the premiere organization for LGBTQ+ individuals to safely experience the positive and developmental aspects of participation in team sports. Right now we need everyone to focus on staying safe, looking out for each other, showing grace within your communities and with each other, and more importantly remain healthy so we can call compete, connect and unite in a better tomorrow. So thank you on behalf of the board for your support. Thank you to the committee in Hawaii for all the things that you’ve done leading up to this moment, and we hope to see you very soon. So on behalf of the board, we send love and wishes and good health for all of you and godspeed.
Toronto will host Gay Bowl XXI in October 2021. According to a post on the the Gay Bowl XX·HNL Organizing Committee website: “The decision about the location of future Gay Bowls is up to NGFFL city leaders. Automatically awarding Gay Bowl 2022 to Hawaii has been an option that city leaders are considering. If that option is not agreed to, the hosting duties for Gay Bowl 2022 will be open to bids presented later this year.”