Carl Nassib of the Raiders comes out as gay in a momentous NFL moment.
Carl Nassib, a defensive end for the Las Vegas Raiders, became the first active NFL player to come out as gay on Monday.
“How are you doing people?” Nassib asked in an Instagram video posted Monday. “I’m at my West Chester, Pennsylvania, home. I just wanted to take a moment to state unequivocally that I am gay. I’ve been meaning to do this for a while but feel finally comfortable doing so. I truly have the best life a man could wish for, with the best family, friends, and job.
As a fairly private individual, I hope you understand that I am not doing this for attention. I simply believe that representation and visibility are critical. I truly hope that one day, videos like this and the entire coming out process will be unnecessary, but until then, I will do my best and contribute to cultivating an accepting and compassionate culture, beginning with a $100,000 donation to the Trevor Project. They are an incredible organization; they are the nation’s leading provider of suicide prevention services for LGBTQ youth.”
The 28-year-old defensive end was a third-round draft pick in 2016 and previously spent time with the Cleveland Browns and Tampa Bay Buccaneers before signing a three-year, $25 million deal with Las Vegas in 2020. Over five NFL seasons, the former Penn State walk-on has appeared in 73 games, starting 37 of them, amassing 20.5 sacks, 143 career tackles, and one interception.
According to Outsports, 15 NFL players have come out following the conclusion of their careers, while former University of Missouri star Michael Sam became the NFL’s first openly gay player in 2014. He never played in an NFL game and retired a year later, citing “mental health issues.”
Nassib’s mid-Pride Month announcement drew immediate positive response from members of the NFL community, including his brother Ryan, a 2013 Giants draft pick.
Ryan responded to Carl’s post, “Couldn’t be more proud to be your brother.” “I adore you, Carl.”
Solomon Thomas, Nassib’s Las Vegas teammate, commented on Nassib’s Instagram post, “Proud of you brotha!”
“Much respect, brudda,” Giants running back Saquon Barkley tweeted, referring to Nassib’s 2015 Penn State teammate.
Additionally, NFL commissioner Roger Goodell lauded Nassib.
“The NFL family is proud of Carl for speaking his truth today with such courage,” Goddell said in a statement. “Representation is critical. We share his hope that, as we march toward full equality for the LGBTQ+ community, statements like his will soon cease to be newsworthy. We wish Carl luck in the upcoming season.”
It’s been humbling for Nassib, who is still figuring out his place in history — both football and otherwise.
“I am in a state of gratitude and relief right now,” he wrote in a message accompanying the ground-breaking video. “Unfortunately, for the last 15 years, I have agonized over this moment. Only recently, with the encouragement of my family and friends, particularly Connor, Cason, and Francis, did it seem possible for me to publicly and proudly declare my homosexuality. Additionally, I am extremely appreciative of the NFL, my coaches, and fellow players for their support. Without them, I would not have been able to accomplish this.
I was treated with the utmost respect and acceptance from the start. “I adore my life and cannot fathom why I have been blessed with so much. I’m especially appreciative of the outpouring of support during a time when many who came before — and many who come now — did not. I stand on the shoulders of giants, incredible individuals who paved the way for this opportunity to exist.
I am not familiar with the entire history of our brave LGBTQ community, but I am eager to learn and contribute to the fight for equality and acceptance. I hope everyone understands that I am a single individual. I’m a lanky walk-on who’s living the life of his dreams. I only have a small window of opportunity to achieve greatness in my sport, and I owe it to my teammates, coaches, and Raider fans to be fully committed and at my best for the upcoming season.
As a private individual, I’d ask the media to respect my privacy as I navigate this exciting period of my life. Please do not be offended if I decline an interview or am unable to respond to your questions.”