The Las Vegas Raiders’ Carl Nassib announced Monday that he’s gay, becoming the first active NFL player to come out.
Nassib’s Instagram announcement started with “I just want to take a quick moment to say that I’m gay,” and went on to say that he is donating $100,000 to the Trevor Project, which seeks to prevent suicides in the LGBTQ+ community.
“I've been meaning to do this for a while now, but I finally feel comfortable enough to get it off my chest. I really have the best life, I've got the best family, friends and job a guy could ask for,” Nassib said. “I'm a pretty private person so I hope you guys know that 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, I'm going to do my best and do my part to cultivate a culture that's accepting.”
Nassib, a former Penn State athlete who has 20.5 sacks in 73 games since being drafted in 2016, signed a three-year contract with the Raiders in March 2020.
“The NFL family is proud of Carl for courageously sharing his truth today,” NFL commissioner Roger Goodell said. "Representation matters. We share his hope that someday soon statements like his will no longer be newsworthy as we march toward full equality for the LGBTQ+ community. We wish Carl the best of luck this coming season."
Raiders owner Mark Davis told ESPN, "It's 2021. All the more power to Carl. It doesn't change my opinion of him as a person or as a Raider," while Las Vegas coach Jon Gruden said, "I learned a long time ago what makes a man different is what makes him great."
“I am very proud of Carl for his courage and voice,” Penn State coach James Franklin said, according to The Associated Press. “This announcement doesn’t surprise me because if you know Carl, you know his strength. Carl’s story continues to add chapters which will have an impact well beyond the field of play.
“Carl’s brave announcement will forge a path for others to be true to their authentic self. I was proud of Carl when he led the nation in sacks, but I’m even more proud of him now."
Michael Sam was the first openly gay player to be drafted into the NFL. He was drafted 249th in 2014 but was cut at the end of training camp and never played in the regular season.