Las Vegas Raiders defensive end Carl Nassib on Monday became the first active NFL player to come out as gay.
“What’s up people,” Nassib said in a video posted to Instagram on Monday. “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.
“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. 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.”
The 28-year-old defensive end was a third-round pick in the 2016 NFL Draft, taken No. 65 overall by the Cleveland Browns out of Penn State.
He also played for the Tampa Bay Buccaneers before signing a three-year, $25 million deal with Las Vegas in 2020.
In 2014, former University of Missouri star Michael Sam became the first openly gay player to be drafted into the NFL. He never appeared in an NFL game and retired a year later due to what he described as mental health reasons.
Nassib’s brother Ryan, a former NFL quarterback, was drafted by the Giants in 2013 and was with the team for four seasons.
Carl Nassib playing for the Raiders on Jan. 3, 2021.AP
“Hey everyone, happy Pride Month,” Carl Nassib wrote in a message posted along with the groundbreaking video. “Right now, I am in a moment of gratitude and relief. 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 know know all the history behind out courageous LGBTQ community, but I am eager to learn and to help continue the fight for equality and acceptance.
“I hope everyone can understand that I am just one person. I am a lankly walk-on who is living his dream. I only have a small window to achieve greatness in my sports 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.”