Carl Nassib on Monday became the first active player in the NFL's history to come out as gay.
“I’ve been meaning to do this for a while now, but I finally feel comfortable enough to get it off my chest,” the Las Vegas Raiders defensive lineman said in a video from his home in Pennsylvania.
“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 I’m really not doing this for attention,” he said.
“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 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,” he added.
Nassib also said that he is donating $100,000 to The Trevor Project, an organization that provides crisis and suicide prevention services to young LGBTQ people.
The football player shared a statement on Instagram alongside his video that read, “Sadly, I have agonized over this moment for the last 15 years.” He noted that “only recently,” due to support from family and friends, “did it seem possible for me to say publicly that I’m gay.”
“I truly love my life and cannot understand why I have been blessed with so much. I feel especially thankful to have had so much support when many who came before – and many even now – do not,” Nassib wrote.
“I stand on the shoulders of giants, incredible people who paved the way for me to have this opportunity,” he added.
Several other NFL players have come out but after they retired. Michael Sam in 2014 became the first publicly gay play player to be drafted in the NFL, but he was released by the St. Louis Rams before the start of the league’s regular season.