Carl Nassib made history on Monday, becoming the first active NFL player to come out as gay. "Just wanted to take a quick moment to say that I'm gay," he said in a video posted to Instagram. "I've been meaning to do this for a while now but I finally feel comfortable enough to get it off my chest."
Nassib -- a 28-year-old defensive linesman with the Las Vegas Raiders -- said he made the announcement purely for reasons of representation.
"I hope that you guys know that I'm really not doing this for attention," he added. "I just think that representation and visibility are so important.
"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."
Nassib also donated $100,000 to the Trevor Project, a US nonprofit that focuses on suicide prevention efforts among LGBTQ+ youth..
Although Nassib is the first active NFL player to come out, Michael Sam, another defensive end, came out as gay in 2014. He was drafted by the St. Louis Rams in 2014 but ultimately didn't make the final roster after playing in the pre-season.
Other NFL players, like David Kopay and Roy Simmons, came out as gay after retiring from the NFL. Simmons said he never came out during his playing career for fear of destroying his career. "The NFL has a reputation," he once said, "and it's not even a verbal thing -- it's just known."
Who is Carl Nassib?
Carl Nassib is a defensive end who currently plays for the NFL team the Las Vegas Raiders. He is a five-season veteran of the NFL, having previously played for the Cleveland Browns and the Tampa Bay Buccaneers.
He played for Penn State Nittany Lions in College and was extremely successful, becoming a consensus All American and winning the Hendricks Award for the nation's top defensive end in 2015. He also received the Lombardi Award as the best college football lineman or linebacker.
In March 2020, Nassib signed a three-year, $25 million contract with the Las Vegas Raiders.
What's the reaction been?
NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell said he was "proud" of Nassib for "sharing his truth."
"Representation matters," he said. "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 coming season."
The Raiders also showed their support. "Proud of you Carl," the team tweeted.
While some social media reaction has sadly been focused on Nassib's coming out not being an important issue, most have universally supported the athlete.
"I am just one person," said Nassib. "I am a lanky walk-on who is living his dream. Thank you everyone for your support."