Las Vegas Raiders lineman Carl Nassib just made sports history by becoming the first active player in the National Football League to come out as gay (or anywhere on the LGBTQ+ spectrum, for that matter).
Nassib made the announcement on Instagram and quickly put his money where his mouth is, announcing a donation to and partnership with the Trevor Project, which aids LGBTQ+ youth in crisis.
“What’s up, people?” Nassib said in a video post. “I’m at my house in West Chester, Pa. 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 getting it off my chest. I really have the best life, 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 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 not necessary, but until then I will do my best and my part to cultivate a culture that’s accepting and 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, 28, has played with the Raiders for two years and has been in the NFL six years overall, including stints with the Cleveland Browns and Tampa Bay Buccaneers, according to Outsports. Nassib played college football at the University of Pennsylvania.
While other NFL players have come out after retiring, Nassib is the first active out player in the league. Michael Sam famously came out after finishing his college career at the University of Missouri and was drafted into the NFL but never made a team roster.
Nassib is getting support. “The NFL family is proud of Carl for courageously sharing his truth today,” NFL commissioner Roger Goodell told Outsports in a statement. “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.”
GLAAD President and CEO Sarah Kate Ellis issued this statement: “Carl Nassib’s powerful coming out is a historic reflection of the growing state of LGBTQ visibility and inclusion in the world of professional sports, which has been driven by a long list of brave LGBTQ athletes who came before him. As an accomplished athlete who is now the first out gay active player in the NFL, Carl Nassib’s story will not only have a profound impact on the future of LGBTQ visibility and acceptance in sports, but sends a strong message to so many LGBTQ people, especially youth, that they too can one day grow up to be and succeed as a professional athlete like him.”