Raiders’ Carl Nassib Comes Out As NFL’s First Openly Gay Active Player

Carl Nassib
Carl Nassib/Instagram

Las Vegas Raiders defensive end Carl Nassib made history today, becoming the first active NFL player to come out as gay. He made the announcement in an Instagram post.

“I just wanted to take a quick moment to say that I’m gay,” he said in the video post, which you can watch below. “I’ve been meaning to do this for a while now but finally feel comfortable getting it off my chest.”

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He added: “I’m a pretty private person, so I hope you guys know I’m really not doing this for attention. I just think that representation and visibility are so important. I actually hope that, like, one day videos like this and the whole coming-out process are just not necessary. But until then, you know, I’m gonna do my best and do my part to cultivate a culture that’s accepting, that’s compassionate, and I’m gonna start by donating $100,00 to The Trevor Project.”

Founded by the filmmakers behind the Oscar-winning 1994 short film Trevor, The Trevor Project is the leading national organization providing crisis intervention and suicide prevention services to LGBTQ people under 25. The fictional film was about a gay 13-year-old who is rejected by his friends and attempts suicide.

In 2014, Michael Sam became the first openly gay player drafted by an NFL team when the then-St. Louis Rams picked him in the seventh round. He didn’t make the team, though, and Sam spent some time with the Dallas Cowboys organization before leaving the league without having played a regular-season game. He played the 2015 season with the Montreal Alouettes of the Canadian Football League, after competing on Dancing with the Stars earlier that year.

Nassib, 28, joined the relocated Raiders last year for their first season in Las Vegas, having played two seasons each for the Cleveland Browns and the Tampa Bay Buccaneers. He was the Big Ten Defensive Player of the Year while at Penn State in 2015.

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