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Global group honors Bucs for gender equality measures

The team is named winner of the 2021 Inclusion Award by Leaders in Sports, a networking company.
Last season, Bucs assistant defensive line coach Lori Locust (pictured) and strength-and-conditioning assistant Maral Javadifar became the first NFL female coaches to win a Super Bowl.
Last season, Bucs assistant defensive line coach Lori Locust (pictured) and strength-and-conditioning assistant Maral Javadifar became the first NFL female coaches to win a Super Bowl. [ Times (2019) ]
Published Oct. 7

TAMPA — The Bucs, widely deemed NFL front-runners in their efforts toward gender equality, on Thursday were named winners of the 2021 Inclusion Award by Leaders in Sport at a banquet in London.

Leaders in Sports, a 12-year-old global sports networking company, evaluated projects and initiatives that foster inclusion, equality and diversity, and appeal to communities irrespective of age, sexuality, gender, disability, religion or belief.

“The Tampa Bay Buccaneers’ work as a leader in gender equality is the embodiment of the inclusion category,” a Leaders in Sport news release stated.

“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.”

Last season, Bucs assistants Lori Locust and Maral Javadifar became the first female coaches to win a Super Bowl. Additionally, co-owner Darcie Glazer Kassewitz helped lead the establishment of the Jr. Bucs Girls Flag Football League, Tampa’s first such league.

Maral Javadifar, Bucs assistant strength and conditioning coach, works with Ndamukong Suh before a game.
Maral Javadifar, Bucs assistant strength and conditioning coach, works with Ndamukong Suh before a game. [ Times (2019) ]

The Bucs also 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.

Other gender equality initiatives include the Buccaneers Girls Flag Football Preseason Classic (the largest flag football tournament in the country); and the launch of the Buccaneers Women’s Summit for Careers in Football, a first-of-its-kind program run by an NFL club. The summit features interactive sessions with senior coaching staff and club executives.

“The Buccaneers are honored to be recognized by Leaders in Sport as an organization committed to advancing gender equality and diversity through football,” Glazer Kassewitz said in a news release.

“Establishing a culture of inclusivity is important to the team and our belief in supporting opportunities for individuals from all backgrounds.”

Contact Joey Knight at jknight@tampabay.com. Follow @TBTimes_Bulls

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