Las Vegas Raiders defensive end Carl Nassib took to social media this week to tell his fans that he identifies as gay. This makes Nassib the first active NFL player to come out as gay.
Nassib posted a video on his Instagram in which he told his fans: “What’s up people? I’m at my house here in West Chester, Pennsylvania. I just want to take a quick moment to say that I’m gay. 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 that I’m not doing this for attention. I just think that representation and visibility are so important. I hope that 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, that’s compassionate and I’m going to start by donating $100,000 to the Trevor Project,” Nassib claimed.
The Trevor Project is one of the most well known LGBT+ organizations in the country. They provide crisis intervention and suicide prevention services specifically for the LGBT+ community. The Trevor Project reacted to Nassib’s announcement, stating that his donation “will help scale out life-saving crisis services to reach more than 1.8 million LGBTQ+ youth who seriously consider suicide each year in the US.”
“They’re an incredible organization, they’re the number one suicide-prevention service for LGBTQ youth in America. I’m very excited to be a part of it, help in any way that I can and I’m really pumped to see what the future holds.”
Nassib’s announcement that he’s gay is a much bigger deal than most individuals probably realize. While LGBT+ individuals are more accepted than ever, there’s still a ton of hard work to be done, and having an athlete in one of the largest sports leagues in the world come out, in a space thats prominently hypermasculine and heteronormative, is huge.
NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell claimed that the league was “so proud of Carl for courageously sharing his truth today.”
“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.”
NFL Players Association executive director DeMaurice Smith added: “Our union supports Carl and his work with the Trevor Project is proof that he — like our membership — is about making his community and this world a better place not for themselves, but for others.”
After Nassib’s announcement, 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.”
Coach Jon Gruden added via text message to ESPN: “I learned a long time ago what makes a man different is what makes him great.”
GLAAD, another major LGBTQ advocacy organization, called Nassib’s announcement “a historic reflection of the growing state of LGBTQ visibility and inclusion in the world of professional sports.”
“Carl Nassib’s story will not only have a profound impact on the future of LGBTQ visibility and acceptance in sports, but sends a strong message to so many LGBTQ youth, that they too can one day grow up to be and succeed as a professional athlete like him,” GLAAD president and CEO Sarah Kate Ellis said in a statement.
Eric Mastrota is a Contributing Editor at The National Digest based in New York. A graduate of SUNY New Paltz, he reports on world news, culture, and lifestyle. You can reach him at email@example.com.