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Who is Carl Nassib? The First Openly Gay NFL Player

Who is Carl Nassib? The First Openly Gay NFL Player
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Who is Carl Nassib? The First Openly Gay NFL Player

Who is Carl Nassib? The First Openly Gay NFL Player

Las Vegas Raiders defensive lineman Carl Nassib walked out of his home in West Chester, Pa., Looked straight into his phone, and did something he hoped someday wouldn’t be necessary.

In a few short sentences, Nassib, 28, turned out to be gay. The music video he recorded and then posted to his Instagram account made him the first active NFL player to do so.

“I’ve wanted to do this for a while now,” Nassib said. “But I finally feel comfortable enough to take it off my chest.”

In the one-minute video and an accompanying statement, Nassib said he has been dying for 15 years and has been meaning to make his announcement for some time. Conversations with friends and family have allowed him, he said, to say publicly that he is gay.

“I actually hope that someday videos like this and the whole release process just isn’t necessary,” Nassib said, “but until then I’ll do my best and my part. to cultivate a culture that accepts is compassionate. “

Nassib added that he was donating $ 100,000 to a nonprofit suicide prevention organization that focuses on LGBTQ people under the age of 25.

Nassib, a 6-foot-7, 275-pound player, was drafted by the Cleveland Browns in the third round of the 2016 draft. He played 14 games in his rookie season and established himself as a starter in 2017.

When the Browns released Nassib near the end of training camp in 2018, the Tampa Bay Buccaneers claimed him on waivers. He started 17 games in two years at Tampa Bay, totaling 63 tackles, 20 tackles for a loss and 12½ sacks.

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In March 2020, he signed a three-year, $ 25 million contract with the Raiders. He’s just wrapped up a season in which he made 27 total tackles and his first career interception, a game he was not eliminated until he returned the ball for 23 yards.

Born in West Chester, Nassib comes from a family of footballers. His father, Gilbert, was playing tight end at the University of Delaware in the late 1970s. He has a younger brother who played defensive end in Delaware and a cousin who played defensive back in Syracuse.

His older brother, Ryan, played quarterback in Syracuse and was drafted in 2013 by the Giants. Ryan spent two seasons as a backup quarterback in New York City, then had brief, mundane stints with the Saints and Jaguars before Jacksonville released him in 2017.

Nassib was an extra at Penn State who didn’t play at all at first, then only sparingly. He didn’t really enter the field, in fact, until his senior season in 2015, when he led the nation with 15½ sacks.

A unanimous American and the Big Ten Defensive Player of the Year that season, Nassib won the Lombardi Award (awarded to the best lineman or linebacker in college football) and the Ted Hendricks Award (as the nation’s top defensive end) .

His college trainer, James Franklin, was among the first to issue a statement of support for Nassib on Monday.

“I was proud of Carl when he led the nation with sacks,” Franklin said, “but I’m even more proud of him now.”

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Some people may remember Nassib from an episode of the HBO football reality show “Hard Knocks”.

In the clip, Nassib uses a whiteboard and some quick math to teach other members of the Browns’ defensive line about compound interest and financial literacy.

In his Instagram post, Nassib thanked the NFL, his coaches and his league peers for their respect and acceptance, and acknowledged that many gay men before him had not received the same support.

“I stand on the shoulders of giants, incredible people who paved the way for me to have this opportunity,” Nassib said. “I don’t know the full story of our courageous LGBTQ community, but I look forward to learning and helping to continue the fight for equality and acceptance. “

“Very proud of Carl Nassib! Incredibly happy for him and I can’t wait to see him play this coming season! wrote former NBA player Jason Collins, who became the first openly gay male athlete in 2013.

NFL commissioner Roger Goodell expressed the league’s support for Nassib in a statement.

“The NFL family are proud of Carl for courageously sharing his truth today,” Goodell wrote. “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.

Nassib has also received public support from the Raiders, Penn State, and current and past athletes.


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