REGINA — Seattle Seahawks punter Jon Ryan has withdrawn from his role as a co-grand marshal for the Queen City Pride Parade in Regina after people became upset with him receiving the honour.
Organizers of the June 16 parade say the NFL player told them on Friday that he would no longer be a co-grand marshal.
Opponents voiced their displeasure with the selection last Wednesday at a town hall meeting.
I was very honoured to be asked, but it seems the best thing I can do is let someone else fill the role.Jon Ryan
A statement detailing some of the concerns from the meeting said that Ryan, a Regina native who is federal Conservative Leader Andrew Scheer's brother-in-law, didn't represent local LGBTQ athletes and teams.
Others raised concerns that the work of AIDS Program South Saskatchewan, which was the other co-grand marshal, wasn't being highlighted.
Ryan's wife, Sarah Colonna Ryan, posted a statement on behalf of her husband on Facebook, where Ryan says he will continue to stand up for equality and the LGBTQ community.
"The negativity it's bringing is the opposite of what pride stands for and as an ally I want to step aside so that the community has someone they all agree on in the role," said the statement, which was posted in a reply to Queen City Pride's Facebook post about Ryan withdrawing.
"I was very honoured to be asked, but it seems the best thing I can do is let someone else fill the role."
Scott Moe, Andrew Scheer not attending
Organizers said in a statement on Sunday that although Ryan's attendance created some controversy, it ended up helping their community to listen to one another.
"The conversations strengthened our belief that by giving everyone a voice and equal opportunity to be heard in a safe, affirming format, we can have a more open, understanding community," organizers said.
Neither Saskatchewan Premier Scott Moe nor Scheer, who represents Regina-Qu'Appelle, are attending the parade.
The parade is in its 29th year and has about 80 floats or walking groups participating.
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