LAS VEGAS (KLAS) — Las Vegas Raiders defensive lineman Carl Nassib says he’s gay, becoming the first active NFL player to do so openly.
Nassib, 28, made the announcement in a video on Instagram.
“I just want to take a quick moment to say that I’m gay,” he said from his home in Pennsylvania.
“I’ve been meaning to do this for a while now, but I finally feel comfortable enough to get it off my chest,” he said. “I really have the best life. I have 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 really not doing this for attention. I just think that representation and visibility are so important. I actually hope that one day that videos like this and the whole coming out process are 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.”
Nassib said he is donating $100,000 to the Trevor Project, an organization aimed to prevent LGBTQ youth suicide.
The Raiders’ Twitter account tweeted, “Proud of you, Carl 🖤” in response.
The NFL tweeted, “The NFL family is proud of you, Carl. ❤️” Commissioner Roger Goodell also issued the following statement:
The NFL family is 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.”Roger Goodell, commissioner, National Football League
The NFL also confirms it will match Las Vegas Raiders DE Carl Nassib’s $100,000 donation to the Trevor Project.
Nevada Gov. Steve Sisolak wrote on Twitter, “Carl, on behalf of the Great State of NV— thank you for your courage and commitment to cultivating acceptance and compassion. We are so proud.”
Sarah Kate Ellis, president and CEO of GLAAD, a leading LGBTQ advocacy organization, called Nassib’s “powerful coming out is a historic reflection of the growing state of LGBTQ visibility and inclusion in the world of professional sports, which has been driven by a long list of brave LGBTQ athletes who came before him.”
Ellis said 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.”
Silver State Equality’s state director, André C. Wade, applauded Nassib for the announcement, saying:
Silver State Equality, Nevada’s leading LGBTQ+ civil rights organization, applauds Las Vegas Raider Carl Nassib for his courageous announcement and his commitment to supporting LGBTQ+ young people.
The NFL platform is a powerful one, and Carl is leveraging his voice and stature as an NFL player to inspire other LGBTQ+ athletes to come out and demonstrate that they are not alone.
We also applaud the Las Vegas Raiders, Carl’s coaches and teammates who have both embraced Carl for who he is and sent an important message about the power of allyship. We couldn’t be prouder to stand alongside both Carl and the Las Vegas Raiders as we work to achieve full, lived equality for all LGBTQ+ Nevadans.”André C. Wade, state director, Silver State Equality
The LGBTQ Center of Southern Nevada also issued a statement, which reads:
Las Vegas Raider Carl Nassib’s announcement today that he is openly gay is incredibly meaningful to the LGBTQIA+ community.
At the LGBTQ Center of Southern Nevada, we believe that everyone should live their authentic life. Mr. Nassib will pave the way for many others to find the courage to live openly and confidently.”John Waldron, Ed.D., CEO, The LGBTQ Center of Southern Nevada
More than a dozen NFL players have come out as gay after their careers were over.
Former University of Missouri defensive star Michael Sam was the first openly gay football player ever selected in the NFL draft, going in the seventh round to the then-St. Louis Rams in 2014. But he never made the final roster and retired in 2015 having never played in an NFL regular-season game.
Nassib is a sixth-year pro who was drafted by the Cleveland Browns in 2016 in the third round (65th overall) out of Penn State. He played two seasons for the Browns and two for Tampa Bay before joining the Raiders in 2020. He has 20 1/2 sacks in 73 career games.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.