Carl Nassib of the Las Vegas Raiders has done something that many have been waiting for in one of America’s Big Four sports leagues. The Raiders defensive end released a video on Monday on his Instagram officially coming out as gay for Pride month, becoming the first active NFL player to do so in league history.
Nassib posted a written statement along with the video that credits his family for embracing him, as well as his teammates and coaches with the Raiders for their support. As he says in the video, he hopes that one day the coming out process won’t be such a big deal and that future athletes won’t feel uncomfortable with being their full, true selves publicly, which played a big role in his decision to make such an announcement. Nassib says he thinks representation is incredibly important, and by making this announcement he will be inspiring to so many.
He also wants to raise awareness for the Trevor Project which works in suicide prevention for the LGBTQ community, where young LGBTQ youth are five times as likely to commit suicide. It’s a tremendous cause and kudos to Nassib for using his platform to not just provide representation for a community that has never seen an active gay NFL player, but to also boost a program that does some really important work — and make a $100,000 donation himself.
While Nassib is the first active gay player on an NFL roster, it should be noted that Michael Sam became the first gay player to be drafted back in 2014 by the St. Louis Rams in the seventh round, although he did not make the roster. Hopefully this is just another step towards more players being comfortable making such announcements and, as Nassib said, this not becoming as significant a news story. It also pushes Nassib’s legendary Hard Knocks financial advisor segment from when he was with the Browns down to the second most important Nassib video of all time.