[June 21, 2021: Charean Williams and Raffy Ermac]
In an Instagram post shared on Monday afternoon, football player and Raiders lineman, Carl Nassib came out as gay, making him the first active player in National Football League history to come out as part of the LGBTQ+ community.
"What’s up people," Nassib said in his Instagram video. "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 and they’re truly doing incredible things. I’m very excited to be a part of it and help in any way that I can and I’m really pumped to see what the future holds."
“The NFL family is proud of Carl for courageously sharing his truth today,” Roger Goodell said in a statement. “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.”
The Penn State alum is entering his sixth season in the NFL after he was drafted in the third round of the 2016 draft by the Cleveland Browns. Nassib is currently listed as third in the depth chart at the right defensive end position behind starter Johnathan Hankins and former San Francisco 49er first-round pick Solomon Thomas.
Nassib signed a three-year, $25 million deal in free agency in 2020. He totaled 2.5 sacks and an interception in 14 games. He has 20.5 sacks in his career, and last year recorded his first interception.
While he is the first active player in the NFL to come out, Nassib is not the first active gay player.
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: "I learned a long time ago what makes a man different is what makes him great."
And James Franklin, Nassib's former coach at Penn State, said, "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."
GLAAD, an 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 people, especially youth, that they too can one day grow up to be and succeed as a professional athlete like him," GLAAD President/CEO Sarah Kate Ellis said in a statement.
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