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NFL Player Carl Nassib Reflects on a Year of Publicly Being Out

Carl Nassib

Currently a free agent, Carl Nassib said he wanted to "own the story" and share his truth on his own terms. 

NFL player Carl Nassib is opening up about the minute-long Instagram video that changed his life.

Nassib, who is now a free agent after being released by the Las Vegas Raiders earlier this year, detailed his "agonizing" decision to publicly come out last summer, he told former NFL star Michael Strahan on Good Morning America.

"I stared at the phone for, like, an hour just looking at it, trying to hype myself up," Nassib shared. "The last thing I said was like, 'You know what -- for the kids.' And, pressed post."

In June 2021, the 29-year-old athlete came out as gay on social media, telling the world that he "finally" felt comfortable enough to "get it off my chest."

The decision came after fifteen years of battling "difficult times'' in navigating his sexuality. Ultimately, Nassib wanted to "own the story" and come out on his own terms, he told the show.

"One of my biggest fears was that I would only be remembered for being gay," the defensive end recalled, while recognizing that that fear was, in part, why he felt he needed to publicly come out in the first place. "When people come out, they're coming out of the closet because they're afraid. They fear that they're going to have a negative impact on their life, on their relationships, on their job."

Nassib said he wishes one day the coming out process wouldn't be necessary.

"I just hope that one day we don't have those fears -- that's the society I hope for one day. And I hope I can be a positive push in that direction," he said.

As the first active player in the NFL to come out as gay, Nassib is creating space for other athletes to do the same. Putting his money where his mouth is, the pro football player also donated $100,000 to the Trevor Project, a nonprofit organization focused on crisis prevention for LGBTQ+ youth, when he came out. In June, he also said he'd donate up to $100,000 in matching funds to the organization for Pride Month.

"It won't be a perfect road," Nassib told Good Morning America of the fight for equality. "We just have to continue the course and make sure that we do it from a place of love and not from a place of animosity."

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