Carl Nassib comes out as gay, the first active NFL player to do so

Carl Nassib #94 of the Las Vegas Raiders celebrates a 31-26 win over the Los Angeles Chargers at SoFi Stadium on November 08, 2020 in Inglewood, California.

Harry How | Getty Images

Las Vegas Raiders defensive lineman Carl Nassib announced on Monday that he is gay, becoming the first player on an active National Football League roster to come out. 

“I just wanted to take a quick moment to say that I’m gay,” Nassib said in an Instagram post. “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.”

Nassib also announced he is donating $100,000 to The Trevor Project, a nonprofit that provides suicide and crisis prevention services to LGBTQ youth.

“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,” Nassib said in the post. “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.”

Nassib added that he had agonized for the past 15 years about whether to publicly come out, and that only recently he felt it was possible to make the announcement.

Nassib, 28, is entering his second year with the Raiders and his sixth season in the NFL. He was named the Big Ten Defensive Player of the Year at Penn State in 2015.

“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,” NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell said in a statement.

In 2014, Michael Sam became the first openly gay player to be selected in the NFL draft when the St. Louis Rams selected him in the seventh round. Sam was cut just before the regular season started.

Jason Collins, who is now retired, became the first active openly gay NBA player in 2013. Two weeks earlier that year, WNBA’s Brittney Griner came out as lesbian.

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