Former Cleveland Browns, Tampa Bay Buccaneers and current Las Vegas Raiders defensive lineman Carl Nassib is the first openly gay player on an active NFL roster.
The 6ft 7″ defensive end came out as gay on social media and at the same time, announced a donation of $100,000 to the Trevor Project.
The non-profit organization focuses on suicide prevention amongst LGBTQ youngsters.
Las Vegas Raiders DE Carl Nassib comes out as gay
He also announced a $100K donation to the Trevor Project, a suicide prevention organization for LGBTQ youth. pic.twitter.com/5Xobd9s0pp
— Bleacher Report (@BleacherReport) June 21, 2021
Nassib, 28, posted his video on Instagram last night during Pride Month and in doing so, breaks new ground in the NFL.
The Raiders star did not make a great deal about the news in his video., announcing his sexual orientation in a matter-of-fact manner.
“What’s up people,” Nassib said welcoming people to the video.
“I’m at my house in West Chester, Pennsylvania. I just wanted to take a quick moment to say that I’m gay.”
“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, the best family, friends and job a guy could ask for.”
“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.”
“I actually hope that 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 to cultivate a culture that’s accepting and compassionate.”
Agonized Over This Moment
In a follow up post, Nassib commented that he had “agonized over this moment for the last 15 years,” and he revealed that speaking to Dave Kopay, who came out as gay in 1975 after a nine-year career in the NFL, had given him the belief that now was the right time to come out.
In 2014, Michael Sam came out as gay before he was drafted by the St Louis Rams, but he did not make the final roster for the Rams that season and has not played a down in the NFL, he has however become the first publicly gay player to play in the Canadian Football League.
A number have players have come out as gay after their NFL careers had finished including Wade Davis, Kwame Harris, Ryan O’Callaghan, Jeff Rohrer, Roy Simmons and Esera Tuaolo.
Support For Nassib
The overwhelming response on Twitter and other forms of social media has been one of support for the Raiders star.
Carl Nassib’s vulnerability to be his authentic self and come out in the NFL is beautiful, and I hope the sport treats him with inclusivity and respect. Happy #Pride to him!
— Megan Reyes (@megreyes_) June 21, 2021
Raiders franchise owner Mark Davis told the Las Vegas Review-Journal that Nassib’s announcement did not concern him in any way and that he was supportive of his decision to come out.
“These are personal decisions,” stated Davis.
“It’s 2021, and he’s a Raider. If he’s happy, I’m happy. It takes courage. I thought we got to the point where this wasn’t . It doesn’t change my opinion of him as a man or as a Raider.”
NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell also issued a statement of support echoing Nassib’s sentiments.
“The NFL Family is proud of Carl for courageously sharing his truth today. Representation matters.”
“We share his hope that someday statements like his will no longer be newsworthy as we march towards full equality for the LGBTQ+ community.”