Las Vegas Raiders defensive end Carl Nassib has made history by becoming the first openly gay player in the NFL. Nassib announced his sexuality in a video posted to Instagram last night, breaking new ground in American football during Pride Month.
“What’s up people,” Nassib said. “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 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 could ask for.”
Nassib added: “I’m a pretty private person so I hope that you guys know that I’m really not doing this for attention. I just think that representation and visibility are so important.
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“I actually hope that one day videos like this and the whole coming out process are just not necessary, but until then I’m going to do my best to cultivate a culture that’s accepting and compassionate.”
The 28-year-old said he was donating £100,000 to the Trevor Project, a suicide prevention service for LGBTQ youth in America.
In further posts Nassib, who previously played for the Cleveland Browns and Tamba Bay Buccaneers and is about to enter his sixth season in the NFL, said he had “agonized over this moment for the last 15 years”.
He added that he had taken confidence from speaking to Dave Kopay, who came out as gay in 1975 after retiring from a nine-year NFL career.
No openly gay player has ever played a regular-season game in the NFL.
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Defensive end Michael Sam came out as gay before he was drafted by the St Louis Rams in 2014, but he did not make their final roster.
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 this 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 someday soon statements like his will no longer be newsworthy as we march toward full equality for the LGBTQ+ community.”
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