Carl Nassib Becomes First NFL Player to Come Out As Gay
Raiders defensive lineman Carl Nassib became the first active NFL player to publicly declare he is gay on Monday.
“I just want to take a moment to say I’m gay,” Nassib said in a video posted to his Instagram account. “I just think representation and visibility are 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 and my part to cultivate a culture that accepts , who is compassionate, ”before adding that he would donate $ 100,000 to The Trevor Project, a nonprofit group that focuses on suicide prevention efforts among lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender youth. , homosexuals and questioning.
“Unfortunately, I have been agonizing over this moment for the past 15 years,” he wrote in the same post.
Nassib, a five-year NFL veteran who previously played with the Cleveland Browns and Tampa Bay Buccaneers, said he was finally “comfortable getting it off my chest.”
Nassib, 28, thanked his coaches, teammates and the NFL for their support.
“I wouldn’t be able to do this without them,” he wrote in his Instagram post.
In a statement Monday, Commissioner Roger Goodell said he was “proud of Carl for courageously sharing his truth today. Representation matters.
The Raiders were quick to show their support for Nassib’s announcement, writing “proud of you, Carl” in a post on the team’s Twitter account this also included his original statement. Two of his teammates, defensive lineman Darius Stills and forward Maxx Crosby, expressed their support, commenting under Nassib’s post that they were proud of him. DeMaurice Smith, Executive Director of the NFL Players Association also said in a Twitter post that he and the union supported Nassib.
Nassib’s announcement, made during Pride Month, is a milestone for the NFL and makes him the first openly gay active player in the league’s 101-year history.
“Sport is, in many ways, one of the last bastions of a place where homophobia can thrive,” said Cathy Renna, spokesperson for the National LGBTQ Task Force. “So to have a professional athlete of this caliber, especially in one of the big sports leagues like the NFL, is really historic.”
A host of current and former athletes from all sports have responded positively to Nassib’s announcement, including retired tennis star Billie Jean King, who wrote, “the ability to live an authentic life is so important,” in a social media post on Monday.
Sarah Kate Ellis, chief executive of LGBTQ rights organization Glaad, called the announcement “a historic reflection of the growing state of LGBTQ visibility and inclusion in professional sport, which has been led by a long list of courageous LGBTQ athletes before him. “
Michael Sam, an all-American defensive lineman in Missouri, was considered the most likely to earn the honor when he announced he was gay before being selected by the Rams in the seventh round of the draft. NFL in 2014, but it was cut. at the end of training camp that year. The Dallas Cowboys signed Sam to their practice squad, but he’s never played in a regular season game.
Sam’s draft status was seen as a barometer of whether the climate for men’s professional sports was increasingly tolerant of gay athletes, especially because in February 2014, the NBA had just become the first of four. major traditional American men’s sports leagues to have an openly gay community. active player when Jason Collins joined the Nets.
But Sam left the NFL without making an impact on the pitch.
Nassib, on the other hand, has already played with three teams in five seasons and is on contract until 2022. After a college career at Penn State, he was selected by the Browns in the third round of the 2016 Draft. He played two. seasons in Cleveland before playing two more seasons in Tampa. The Raiders signed him to a three-year, $ 25 million contract in March 2020. He totaled 20½ sacks during his career.
A handful of NFL players had previously publicly announced that they were gay, but all of this after their playing careers had ended. David Kopay became the first professional football player to declare himself gay in 1975, three years after his retirement. He played for nine seasons with the San Francisco 49ers and four other teams in the 1960s and 1970s, and has since become an activist and ambassador for the Gay Games, a quadrennial sporting event.
Roy Simmons was the second former player to announce that he was gay, in 1992 after his career with the Giants and the Washington football team ended. He then revealed that he was HIV positive and died of complications from pneumonia in 2014 at the age of 57.
Some players like Simmons have said they feel they have no choice but to hide their gender identity while in the league. Simmons said he has cultivated a reputation for being the life of the party and has had to compartmentalize his footballing and personal life.
Simmons also said he would never have declared himself gay during the four seasons he played for the NFL for fear of destroying his career.
“The NFL has a reputation,” he said in 2003, “and it’s not even a verbal thing – it’s just known. You are gladiators; You are a man ; kick your butt.
In recent years, the league has publicly supported Pride Month through promotional efforts such as changing official social media avatars to include rainbows and supporting the You Can Play Project, which provides resources to encourage inclusion in sports for young people, although some players have made disparaging statements about gay people with little sentence or supported groups that oppose gay rights.
In 2013, Chris Culliver of the San Francisco 49ers and Chris Clemons of the Seattle Seahawks made offensive comments when asked about the possibility of having a gay teammate.
“No gay people on the team,” Culliver said. “They have to get out of here if they do.” Culliver later apologized, saying, “I’m sorry if I’ve offended anyone. They were very ugly comments.
San Francisco running back Garrison Hearst apologized in 2002 for using an insult and said he wouldn’t want a gay player as a teammate. His comment came after former Minnesota Vikings player Esera Tuaolo publicly declared himself gay that year after his retirement. Hearst’s comment prompted a public apology from 49ers team owners and then-head coach Steve Mariucci, but no league penalties.
“As an African American, I know discrimination is bad,” Hearst said later. “I was wrong to say what I said about anyone, any race or any religion.”
The league has little to do with Sam’s announcement as it came in before he was drafted. Former NFL players like Brendon Ayanbadejo, who played for the Baltimore Ravens, championed same-sex marriage and gay rights and supported Sam at the time. But few active players have publicly echoed his support.
Seven years after Sam’s announcement, Nassib’s announcement was met with public support from both the league itself and the Raiders, a team that had already made notable milestones in football with their hires. . Tom Flores, who is Mexican-American, was the first Latino NFL coach to win a Super Bowl. He won two with the Raiders in the 1980 and 1983 seasons.
Amy Trask in 1997 became the general manager of the Raiders and the first woman in that rank in the NFL.The team drafted Eldridge Dickey, the first black quarterback caught in the first round, in 1968, when the Raiders played in the ‘AFL
“We hope that Carl’s historic portrayal in the NFL inspires young LGBTQ athletes across the country to live their truth and pursue their dreams,” said Amit Paley, executive director and general manager of the Trevor Project on Monday.
Emmanuel Morgan and Jesus Jimenez contributed reporting.
#Carl #Nassib #NFL #Player #Gay