Carl Nassib, a defensive lineman with the Las Vegas Raiders, made history by being the first active NFL player to come out as gay.
According to CNN, Nassib, 28, came out June 22 in a video on Instagram.
“I’m Carl Nassib. I’m at my house here in West Chester, Pennsylvania,” Nassib said in the video. “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.”
Nassib is in his second season with the Raiders after spending five years with three other clubs. In a statement accompanying the video, he claimed he had anguished for 15 years over the choice to come out as gay.
Before his announcement, Nassib previously played with the Cleveland Browns from 2016-2017 and the Tampa Bay Buccaneers in 2018 and 2019, according to USA Today. He set himself apart from the pack with 20 and a half sacks in five NFL seasons.
Nassib also previously played for Penn State in 2011. Four years later, he was named Big Ten Defensive Player of the Year and won the Lombardi Award, which is given to the top college lineman or linebacker in the country.
When Penn State head football coach saw his former player’s message, James Franklin voiced how proud he was and claimed that Nassib has a huge heart.
"I am very proud of Carl for his courage and voice. This announcement doesn't surprise me because if you know Carl, you know his strength. Carl's story continues to add chapters which will have an impact well beyond the field of play," he said in a statement, according to CNN. "His care and love for those around him, particularly those in need, has always been obvious ... Carl's brave announcement will forge a path for others to be true to their authentic self."
In reaction to Nassib’s announcement, Roger Goodell, commissioner of the NFL, praised him.
“The NFL family is proud of Carl for courageously sharing his truth today,” Goodell said, according to CNN. “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 season.”
According to the New York Times, the Raiders quickly showed their support by writing “proud of you, Carl” on the team’s official Twitter account.
Two of Nassib’s teammates, defensive lineman Darius Stills and edge rusher Maxx Crosby, also voiced their support by commenting on Nassib’s social media post.
The CEO and President of GLAAD Sarah Kate Ellis stated that Nassib’s announcement was a strong message and reflects the growing state of LGBT visibility and inclusion in the world of professional sports.
In addition to coming out, Nassib also announced that he has donated $100,000 to The Trevor Project, a nonprofit organization focusing on suicide prevention among LGBT youth.
According to Market Watch, in the wake of his announcement, The Trevor Project saw a 350% surge in traffic to its website.
The NFL has announced that the organization is supporting Nassib by matching his contribution.
“We proudly support the LGBTQ+ community and will continue to work alongside the Trevor Project and our other community partners to further enhance our collective work and commitment,” the NFL said in a statement released on Twitter.