Lineman Becomes First Active Player in NFL History to Come Out as Gay
Defensive end Carl Nassib of the Las Vegas Raiders publicly announced he was gay on Monday, making him the first active NFL player to do so.
Nassib, 28, a former Penn State star who began his NFL career with the Cleveland Browns, made the announcement in an Instagram post.
“What’s up people? I’m at my house here in West Chester, Pennsylvania. I just want to take a quick moment to say that I’m gay,” the 6-foot-7, 275-pound lineman said without preamble in the post.
“I’ve been meaning to do this for a while now, but I finally feel comfortable enough to get it off my chest. I really have the best life, I’ve got the best family, friends and job a guy could ask for,” he said.
Nassib said he thought it was important to make a private decision public.
“I’m a pretty private person so I hope you guys know that I’m really not doing this for attention. I just think that representation and visibility are so important,” he said.
“I actually hope that like one day, videos like this and the whole coming-out process are just not necessary. But until then, I’m going to do my best and do my part to cultivate a culture that’s accepting, that’s compassionate and I’m going to start by donating $100,000 to the Trevor Project,” Nassib said.
The Trevor Project is a national organization whose website says it provides “crisis intervention and suicide prevention services to lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, queer & questioning (LGBTQ) young people under 25.”
“They’re an incredible organization, they’re the No. 1 suicide-prevention service for LGBTQ youth in America. And they’re truly doing incredible things. And I’m very excited to be a part of it, help in any way that I can and I’m really pumped to see what the future holds,” Nassib said.
Social media resounded with support for Nassib, including from the league office and current and former players.
From Commissioner Goodell: pic.twitter.com/MbgGt6AuGs
— NFL345 (@NFL345) June 21, 2021
As long as they helped us win and were great teammates- their sexual preference was never a issue..
We live in a different time now where diversity is much more accepted. Cheers Carl, and I hope this lets other athletes know, its OK to say who you are…??
— Warren Moon (@WMoon1) June 22, 2021
Good for you Carl.
Glad you feel comfortable enough to share and hopefully someday these types of announcements will no longer be considered breaking news. https://t.co/eevr8cgRay
— JJ Watt (@JJWatt) June 22, 2021
Awesome moment. Spreading the love to the @TrevorProject very classy move. ❤️ https://t.co/pOWGsvRMUW
— Julian Edelman (@Edelman11) June 21, 2021
Good for you Carl Nassib!! Live your truth brother.
— Ryan Clark (@Realrclark25) June 21, 2021
Raiders officials also backed Nassib, according to ESPN.
“It’s 2021. All the more power to Carl. It doesn’t change my opinion of him as a person or as a Raider,” team owner Mark Davis said.
Coach Jon Gruden said, “I learned a long time ago what makes a man different is what makes him great.”
Nassib was a role player for the Raiders last season, starting five of the 14 games in which he played and registering 2.5 sacks. He has a total of 20.5 career sacks over five seasons and 73 games — less than half of them starts.
It remains unclear whether Nassib will make headlines for his sexual orientation or for his play on the field in the years to come.
Michael Sam, a Missouri linebacker, was the first openly gay player drafted when he was picked by the St. Louis Rams in the seventh round of the 2014 draft. He did not make the team.
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