Las Vegas Raiders defensive end Carl Nassib came out as gay on Monday, becoming the first openly gay active NFL player in history.
“Just wanted to take a quick moment and say that I’m gay,” Nassib shared in a social media video from his hometown of West Chester, Pennsylvania. “I’ve been wanting to do this for a while now, but I finally feel comfortable to get it off my chest.”
Nassib played college football at Penn State University before being drafted by the Cleveland Browns in 2016. After a stint with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, he signed a three-year contract with the Raiders in 2020.
“I really have the best life,” Nassib said in his video. “I got the best family, friends and job I 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.”
He continued by announcing that he plans to continue working to increase visibility and awareness for the LGBTQ community.
“I actually hope that one day, videos like this and the whole coming out process are just not necessary, but until then, I’m gonna do my best and do my part to cultivate a culture that’s accepting, that’s compassionate,” he said. “I’m gonna start by donating $100,000 to The Trevor Project. They’re an incredible organization, they’re the No. 1 suicide prevention service for LGBTQ youth in America.”
With his announcement, Nassib becomes the only publicly gay active NFL player in history, as six former NFL stars have come out after retiring from the league. In 2014, Michael Sam became the first openly gay player to be drafted by the NFL, when he was selected by the St. Louis Rams, but he was released before the start of the regular season and never played in an NFL game.
After Nassib’s announcement, a number of celebs and public figures supported him on social media.
Carl Nassib said he agonized about this moment for the last 15 years. He deserves all the love. Kindness today is important. Don’t let your negative tweets be the reason someone else decides not to live their truth. Let your positive ones be the reason they do.
— Taylor Rooks (@TaylorRooks) June 21, 2021
The ability to live an authentic life is so important.
Representation and visibility matter! 🏳️🌈 https://t.co/E6hSOeIioW
— Billie Jean King (@BillieJeanKing) June 21, 2021
Proud of Carl Nassib for courageously living his truth. Representation matters and this historic moment will help so many LGBTQ+ youth. Thank you, Carl, for your incredible leadership.https://t.co/RXkYhUPKyT
— Cory Booker (@CoryBooker) June 21, 2021
Representation matters. Thank you Carl Nassib for your incredible courage. https://t.co/uOVRdLD3dc
— Gavin Newsom (@GavinNewsom) June 21, 2021
It took me until I was in my late 60s to come out. Such is the power of the closet. And I know what it’s like to have the eyes of the world on you when you do finally speak your truth.
Bravo, Carl Nassib. You have tackled a great deal today.
— George Takei (@GeorgeTakei) June 22, 2021
Really proud of Carl Nassib. The first active football player to ever do so. I played with several guys who never were comfortable enough to go public. They were great teammates, & obviously very talented.
— Warren Moon (@WMoon1) June 22, 2021
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