Las Vegas Raiders defensive end Carl Nassib has become the first active NFL player to declare himself gay.
“I just wanted to take a moment to say I’m gay. I’ve wanted to do this for a while now, but I finally feel comfortable enough to pull it off my chest,” he said.
“I really have the best life, the best family, the best friends and the best job a guy could ask for.”
Nassib added, “I’m a pretty private person so I hope you know I’m really not doing this for attention. I just think representation and visibility is so important.
“I actually hope that someday videos like this and the whole release process just aren’t necessary, but until then I’m going to do my best to cultivate a culture that accepts and empathizes.”
Nassib also said he is donating £ 100,000 to the Trevor Project, a suicide prevention service for LGBTQ youth in America.
Raiders owner Mark Davis told the Las Vegas Review-Journal: “These are personal decisions. It’s 2021 and he’s a Raider. If he’s happy, I’m happy. It takes courage.
“I thought we got to the point where it wasn’t [a prominent news story]. It doesn’t change my opinion of him as a man or as a Raider. “
In a statement, NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell added, “The NFL family is proud of Carl for courageously sharing his truth today. Representation matters.
“We share his hope that one day soon statements like his will no longer be newsworthy as we march towards full equality for the LGBTQ + community.”
No openly gay player has played a regular season game in the NFL.
Defensive end Michael Sam came out as gay before being drafted by the St. Louis Rams in 2014 and played for them in the preseason, but did not make their final roster.
Former LA Galaxy and United States footballer Robbie Rogers became the first openly gay man to play in one of the United States’ Big Five sports leagues upon his release in February 2013.
Nassib is set to enter his sixth season in the NFL, having been a third-round pick by the Cleveland Browns in 2016.
He then spent two years with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers before signing a three-year contract with the Raiders in March 2020.
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