Las Vegas Raiders lineman Carl Nassib comes out as NFL's 1st active gay player
28-year-old announces donation to suicide prevention program for LGBTQ youth
Las Vegas Raiders defensive lineman Carl Nassib revealed in an Instagram post on Monday that he is gay, making him the NFL's only openly gay player.
"I just wanted to take a quick moment to say that I'm gay," the 28-year old native of West Chester, Pa. said in a video post. "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, 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 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 not necessary, but until then I am gonna do my best and do my part to cultivate a culture that's accepting that's compassionate."
Nassib, who came out during Pride Month, also committed to donating $100,000 US to the Trevor Project — a non-profit organization that focuses on suicide prevention programs for LGBT youth.
"The NFL family is proud of Carl for courageously sharing his truth today," NFL Commissioner 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."
No openly gay player has ever appeared in an NFL regular-season game.
Former Missouri defensive lineman Michael Sam came out as gay before being selected by the then-St. Louis Rams organization in 2014 and appeared in a pre-season game, but failed to make a regular-season roster.
'Proud to support Carl'
Nassib's announcement was greeted by Brian Burke, president of the NHL's Pittsburgh Penguins. Burke has been a major proponent of LGBTQ rights for more than a decade since his late son Brendan came out as gay.
"Proud to support Carl and his decision to come out as the first active gay player in the NFL," Burke said. "I hope other sports executives will join me in publicly expressing their support as well."
Nassib, a third-round selection of the Cleveland Browns in 2016 has also played for the Tampa Bay Buccaneers before joining the Raiders. As a collegian, Nassib was named Big Ten Player of the Year at Penn State in 2015.
In 73 career games (37 starts), Nassib has totalled 143 tackles (36 for loss), 20.5 sacks, 16 passes defenced, one interception, three forced fumbles and a fumble recovery.
With files from The Associated Press