NFL history has been made during Pride Month.
Las Vegas Raiders defensive end Carl Nassib announced via social media on Monday that he is gay, making him the first openly gay active player in the NFL.
“What’s up people?” Nassib posted in a video on Instagram. “I’m at my house here in West Chester, Pennsylvania. I just want 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, I’ve got 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,” he continued. “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 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. They’re an incredible organization, they’re the number one suicide-prevention service for LGBTQ youth in America and they’re truly doing incredible things. I’m very excited to be a part of it and help in any way that I can and I’m really pumped to see what the future holds.”
Nassib is in his sixth NFL season and his second with the Las Vegas Raiders. His best statistical years were with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, racking up 12.5 sacks from 2018-2019.
There was an outpouring of positivity, congratulations, and support for Nassib within and outside of the NFL community. The Raiders tweeted out “Proud of you, Carl” from the team’s official account, and from our perspective the Seattle Seahawks tweeted “Much love to a member of our NFL family.”
Much love to a member of our NFL family. https://t.co/yMgAo9EPOl— Seattle Seahawks (@Seahawks) June 22, 2021
“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 in the upcoming season,” Commissioner Roger Goodell told Outsports.
There have been gay players like Ryan O’Callahan who have come out after their NFL careers ended, and back in 2014 former Missouri pass rusher Michael Sam came out before the NFL Draft. Sam was taken in the seventh round but did not make the roster cuts for the St. Louis Rams and never played a down in the league. Never before had someone on an active NFL roster publicly announced that they are gay prior to Nassib, so this was truly a momentous occasion.