Minnesota Pop Ultimate's Statement on the Upcoming Vikings Half-Time Game

August 29, 2017

Earlier this year, the AUDL franchise Minnesota Wind Chill competed against college men’s players at a Minnesota United FC (MLS) game. This week on Thursday, the Minnesota Wind Chill will play against the Madison Radicals during a sold-out Minnesota Vikings NFL preseason game at US Bank Stadium, in front of over 66,000 people.

This halftime game is another showcase of men’s ultimate during a major professional sports event. Here is a letter by Wisconsin’s women’s team Bella Donna addressing the men’s ultimate halftime show at a Green Bay Packers game last NFL season.

As women who play on Pop, a Minneapolis club team, we are disappointed. We are disappointed because of the series of missed opportunities that would grow ultimate thoughtfully and with gender equity in mind. We are disappointed because men tell us that a rising tide will lift all boats, but there's a difference between a luxury yacht and a raft. We are disappointed because people insist on growing ultimate, while leaving many of us behind.

We understand hard work went into making this event happen. We know what it is like to pour your time, money, and energy into something not because you’re going to make money, but simply because you want to do it. We understand what invisible and disproportionate labor looks like. [1] We understand what it feels like to work behind the scenes, where there is no glory, praise, or appreciation. Where after you put in all that work, it seems like you only hear criticism. After all, we are here fighting for gender equity.

In the last couple months, members of Pop have met with members of Wind Chill to discuss gender equity and brainstorm concrete actions that both teams can take to work together. So while we are disappointed in the decision to participate in this showcase game, we hope that we can continue to have these conversations and use moments like these to learn and grow. We also ask members of Wind Chill and Radicals to have conversations with each other, discuss what gender equity looks like, the implications of this showcase game, and what men might need to sacrifice in the fight for gender equity. Because learning and acknowledging is the first step, but taking action and making sacrifices is another.

To the men who will undoubtedly criticize us for “complaining” and will tell us to, “go make your own halftime show happen,” this letter is not directed at you, as there is very little we can share with you until you are ready to engage in active listening. Instead, we ask male allies in our community to address those comments.

As female athletes we are relegated to a position where fewer opportunities are available to us. Because of our gender we are in a position deemed inferior to men, subordinate to men, and supplementary to men. We are automatically seen as less than to the same men we call our partners, fathers, brothers, and friends.

As this community continues to push for the growth of ultimate and render this sport more visible, do not forget those of us who are foundational to the community and are actively part of making it grow.

Minneapolis Pop

[1] 17 Pop players coach college, high school, middle school or youth club. 6 Pop players are high school or college players who are organizers on their respective teams and volunteer at Minnesota Ultimate events such as the High School State Championship Tournament or the US Open. 5 Pop players do not currently coach, though they volunteer for clinics and tournaments. Many Pop players coach more than one team and/or volunteer for clinics, tournaments, and organize in addition to coaching.