On Monday, Las Vegas Raiders defensive lineman Carl Nassib came out as gay, making him the first openly gay player in the NFL.
“I just want to take a quick moment to say that I’m gay,” Nassib said in a video on his Instagram. “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. I’m a pretty private person, so I hope you guys know I’m not doing this for attention, but I think representation matters.”
In the same announcement, he said he’d be making a $100,000 donation to the Trevor Project, a non-profit focused on suicide prevention for LGBT youth.
Though many headlines were made when Missouri’s Michael Sam came out as gay before the 2014 NFL Draft, an openly gay player is yet to play in a regular season game. Sam, a seventh-round pick, was in the Rams and Cowboys organizations for preseason and practice squad purposes, but never got in an official game. Multiple other players have come out since their careers ended. Feel free to note, as I did, that Nassib hasn’t played in a regular season contest since earlier today when he announced (it’s June). But he signed a three-year deal with Las Vegas before last season.
Anyway, Nassib was drafted out of Penn State in the third round in 2016. He’s played for the Browns, Bucs, and Raiders. He has 20.5 career sacks.
You can watch his announcement below:
Nassib’s announcement was met, quickly, with an official statement from commissioner Roger Goodell. The statement was kept brief and provided the latest example of how rapidly activist language gets adopted into the mainstream/corporate world.
“The NFL family is proud of Carl for courageously sharing his truth today. Representation matters,” it said. “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.”
Following the announcement, Adam Schefter reported Nassib had the top-selling NFL jersey on both Monday and Tuesday through Fanatics.