Story at a glance:

  • Carl Nassib is the first active NFL player to come out as gay.
  • He is donating $100,000 to the Trevor Project to help spread awareness of the suicide-prevention service for LGBTQ+ youth in America.
  • One of the best LGBTQ+ athletes in any sport, Nassib won four national trophies before getting drafted to the league.

Defensive end Carl Nassib of the Las Vegas Raiders has announced he is gay, making him the first active NFL player to be openly gay.

The 28-year-old came out Monday on Instagram as June, recognized as Pride Month, approaches its end, The New York Post reported.


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"What’s up people? I'm at my house in West Chester, Pennsylvania. 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," Nassib said in a video posted to Instagram

"I’m a pretty private person so I hope you guys know that I’m not really 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," he added.

The CEO and Executive Director of The Trevor Project Amit Paley said, “The Trevor Project is grateful to Carl Nassib for living his truth and supporting LGBTQ youth. This generous donation will help us scale our life-saving crisis services to reach the more than 1.8 million LGBTQ youth who seriously consider suicide each year in the U.S."

"Coming out is an intensely personal decision, and it can be an incredibly scary and difficult one to make. We hope that Carl’s historic representation in the NFL will inspire young LGBTQ athletes across the country to live their truth and pursue their dreams," Paley said. "At a time when state lawmakers are actively trying to restrict transgender and nonbinary youth’s participation in school sports, this news should serve as a clarion call for greater LGBTQ inclusion in the locker room and on the field."

Of course the record for first gay NFL star would be remiss if the media did not mention former University of Missouri star Michael Sam, who was the first out gay man drafted in the league in 2014 for the then-St. Louis Rams.

Sam, who was also a defensive end, never got the chance to play for the Rams in an official game and eventually retired from American football and play in the Canadian league. 

Nassib played college football at Penn State, being a native of West Chester, Pa., and was drafted by the Cleveland Browns as a third-round pick in the 2016 NFL Draft. He has also played for the Tampa Bay Buccaneers in 2018.

Nassib signed a three-year, $25-million deal with Las Vegas in 2020.

Nassib won the Consensus All-American (2015), Lombardi Award (2015), Big Ten Defensive Player of the Year (2015), First-team All-Big Ten (2015) and Ted Hendricks Award (2015).

His brother Ryan, who also plays for the NFL as a free agent, welcomes his younger brother’s news.

"Right now, I am in a moment of gratitude and relief,” Nassib wrote in a message. "Sadly, I have agonized over this moment for the last 15 years. Only until recently, thanks to my family and friends, especially Connor, Cason, and Francis, did it seem possible for me to say publicly and proudly that I’m gay. I am also incredibly thankful for the NFL, my coaches, and fellow players for their support. I would not have been able to do this without them. From the jump, I was greeted with the utmost respect and acceptance.

“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. I stand on the shoulders of giants, incredibly people who have paved the way for me to have this opportunity. I do not know all the history behind our courageous LGBTQ community, but I am eager to learn and to help continue the fight for equality and acceptance,” he added.

"I hope everyone can understand that I am just one person. I am a lanky walk-on who is living his dream. I only have a small window to achieve greatness in my sport and I owe it to my team, coaches, and Raider fans to be completely locked in and at my best for the upcoming season. I’m a private person, so I’d ask the media to give me some space as I navigate this exciting time in my life. Please do not take it personally if I decline an interview or am unable to answer your questions," he said.


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Published on Jun 21, 2021