Skip to content

Toronto FC, Wolfpack show off their rainbow colours during Pride week

TORONTO — For the Toronto Wolfpack, it's game-day Saturday and Pride parade Sunday. The fledgling pro rugby league team, which hosts Hunslet RLFC on Saturday, is looking forward to taking part in Toronto's annual parade. "We'll all march ...

TORONTO — For the Toronto Wolfpack, it's game-day Saturday and Pride parade Sunday.

The fledgling pro rugby league team, which hosts Hunslet RLFC on Saturday, is looking forward to taking part in Toronto's annual parade.

"We'll all march ... We want to get involved in the community," said coach Paul Rowley.

"Sound like fun," he said of the Pride celebrations. "We're here to have fun." 

"We all are what we are and we don't care what colour, creed, race or belief you have," added the English native who oversees rugby's first transatlantic team.

Like the Wolfpack, Toronto FC is flying its rainbow colours. On Friday, the Major League Soccer team hosts its first Pride Night as the New England Revolution come to visit.

"It's so important in the world today, the ability for people from all walks of life, of different background, of different race, ethnicity, different upbringings, different religions, sexual orientation, whatever it is, to understand that we're all the same," said Toronto captain Michael Bradley.

"The ability to understand what other people are going through, the ability to put yourself in another person's shoes, the ability to love and respect other people no matter what the differences are — there's nothing more important.

"All of us here at TFC are proud to play our part this weekend. I think it will be a great night."

The MLS team, now in its 11th season, has partnered with You Can Play, an organization dedicated to ensuring equality, respect and safety for all who participate in sports.

A portion of ticket sales will be donated to You Can Play.

An MLSE spokesman said while the Leafs and Raptors have had a Pride presence in recent years, that will not be the case this weekend "due to availability."

The Blue Jays are on the road.

Bradley, who will have to sit out Friday's match due to yellow card accumulation, showed his colours last June when he wore a rainbow captain’s armband in support of the victims of the Orlando shooting and the LGBT community for a U.S. game against Ecuador in the Copa America quarter-finals.

"It was something that came very spur of the moment," he recalled recently. "Obviously the shooting in Orlando was something that hit everyone in our country hard."

Bradley recalled how U.S. equipment manager Jesse Bignami "jumped through hoops to make sure it could happen."

"We didn't tell anybody because unfortunately things like that with FIFA don't always go over as well as they should. So we kept that one quiet until the last second. He had the armband made up and kind of kept it in his pocket until right before we went out to walk on the field.

"Look, it was a way in that moment of just showing strength and support and solidarity for the victims, their families, the entire LGBT community and I think it was something that meant a good amount to a lot of people which always makes things like that worth it."

Bradley said no fine resulted from the unique show of support.


Follow @NeilMDavidson on Twitter

Neil Davidson, The Canadian Press