Las Vegas Raiders defensive end Carl Nassib announced Monday, June 21, that he is gay, making him the first active NFL player to acknowledge his homosexuality.
He made his proclamation in a video posted to Instagram.
“I’m at my house here in West Chester, Pennsylvania,” Nassib, 28, said. “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 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 can 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 like one day, videos like this and the whole coming out process are not necessary, but until then I am gonna do my best and do my part to cultivate a culture that’s accepting, that’s compassionate.”
Raiders owner Mark Davis said to the Las Vegas Review-Journal, “These are personal decisions. 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 (a prominent news story). It doesn’t change my opinion of him as a man or as a Raider.”
NFL commissioner Roger Goodell said in a statement, “The NFL family is proud of Carl for courageously sharing his truth today. Representation matters. We share his hope that someday soon statements like his will no longer be newsworthy as we march toward full equality for the LGBTQ+ community. We wish Carl the best of luck this coming season.”
Penn State coach James Franklin, who was Nassib’s coach in 2014 and 2015, wrote in a social media post, “I am very proud of Carl for his courage and voice. This announcement doesn’t surprise me because if you know Carl, you know his strength. Carl’s story continues to add chapters which will have an impact well beyond the field of play.”
“Carl’s brave announcement will forge a path for others to be true to their authentic self. I was proud of Carl when he led the nation in sacks, but I’m even more proud of him now.”
Nassib is on track to become the first openly gay player to play in a regular-season game. Defensive end Michael Sam came out as gay in 2014 before the St. Louis Rams drafted him, but he did not make the final roster.
June is Pride Month.
Nassib also announced a $100,000 donation to the Trevor Project, which works to prevent suicides among LGBTQ+ youth in America.
Entering his sixth NFL season, the 6-foot-7 Nassib was a third-round draft pick in 2016 by the Browns. He spent two seasons in Cleveland (2016-17), followed by two with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers (2018-19) before he signed a three-year, $25.3 million contract, including nearly $16.8 million in guarantees, with the Raiders in March 2020.
In 73 career games (37 starts), Nassib has 143 tackles (36 for loss), 20.5 sacks, 16 passes defensed, 1 interception, 3 forced fumbles, and 1 fumble recovery. – Rappler.com