Raiders’ Carl Nassib becomes first active NFL player to exit

Las Vegas Raiders defensive lineman Carl Nassib announced Monday that he was gay, making him the first active NFL player to come out.

“What’s up folks. I’m Carl Nassib. I’m at home in West Chester, PA,” Nassib said in an Instagram post. “I just wanted to take a moment to say I’m gay. I’ve been meaning to do this for a while now, but I finally feel comfortable pulling it off my chest. I really have the best. life, the best family, the best friends and the best job a guy could ask for. “

Nassib stressed that he hopes he is not seen as someone who seeks attention and that he is “sitting in a moment of gratitude and relief” after “having” agonized over that moment over the years. Last 15 years “.

“I just think representation and visibility are so important,” he said. “I actually hope that someday videos like this and the whole release process won’t be necessary, but until then I’ll do my best and do my part to cultivate a culture that accepts and is compassionate. “

In his post, Nassib said he was donating $ 100,000 to The Trevor Project, an organization that provides crisis intervention and suicide prevention resources to LGBTQ youth.

According to a 2016 study, lesbian, gay and bisexual youth consider suicide almost three times more than heterosexual youth and are almost five times more likely to have attempted suicide. In a separate national study, 40% of transgender adults reported attempting suicide, 92% of whom did so before the age of 25.

The 28-year-old is entering his sixth season in the NFL, his second with the Raiders, according to SB Nation. In response to his announcement, the Raiders and the NFL tweeted to Nassib that they were proud of him.

Nassib said he was “incredibly grateful to the NFL, my coaches and fellow players for their support,” and that from the start he “was greeted with the utmost respect and acceptance.”

The announcement will mark the first time that an openly gay or bisexual player has actively participated in an NFL regular season game. According to Outsports, 15 players have retired from the sport, historically linked to masculinity and heteronormativity. Dave Kopay was the first NFL player to come out, in 1975, after retiring from a nine-year career as a running back with multiple teams.

In 2014, former Missouri defensive lineman Michael Sam made headlines for revealing his homosexuality. Sam, who was named the first-team All-American after the 2013 season, was eligible for the 2014 NFL draft and was set to be the first openly gay active player in league history. The lineman received polarizing messages in response to his announcement.

Former Missouri Tiger Michael Sam attends a game between Missouri and South Dakota State on August 30, 2014. Sam was authored by


Ed Zurga via Getty Images

Former Missouri Tiger Michael Sam attends a game between Missouri and South Dakota State on August 30, 2014. Sam was drafted by the St. Louis Rams, but the team released him last. day of cuts.

“We admire the honesty and courage of Michael Sam,” the NFL said in a statement in response to the 24-year-old’s announcement. “Michael is a football player. Any player with ability and determination can be successful in the NFL. “

But Sam never became an active NFL player. The lineman was the first openly gay player to be drafted into the league and, despite winning one of college football’s top honors, Sam was selected 249th in the seventh round of the 2014 draft by the Rams of St. Louis.

“As of yet, there is no other explanation for Sam’s collective snub: NFL team offices don’t treat Michael Sam the same just because he’s openly gay,” he said. writes Cyd Zeigler, co-founder of Outsports.

In his message on Monday, Nassib said he felt “particularly grateful to have had so much support when many who have come before – and many even now – are not.”

“I stand on the shoulders of giants, amazing people who paved the way for me to have this opportunity,” he 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.”

GLAAD President Sarah Kate Ellis said on Monday that Nassib’s coming out “is a historic reflection of the growing state of visibility and inclusion of LGBTQ in the world of professional sport, which was led by a long list of courageous LGBTQ athletes who came before him. “

“Carl Nassib’s story will not only have a profound impact on the future of LGBTQ visibility and acceptance in sport, but will send a strong message to so many LGBTQ people, especially young people, that they also will one day become and succeed as a professional athlete like him.

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