Carl Nassib becomes first openly gay active player in the NFL

Photo courtesy: Las Vegas Raiders

Las Vegas Raiders defensive lineman Carl Nassib has become the first openly gay active player in the National Football League.

Nassib was selected in the third round, 65th overall during the 2016 NFL Draft out of Penn State University. On March 27, 2020 he signed a three-year, $25 million dollar contract with the Raiders.

“What’s up people? I’m Carl Nassib. 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 finally feel comfortable getting it off my chest. I really have the best life, the best family, friends and job a guy can ask for,” Nassib said in a video posted on his Instagram account.

“I’m a pretty private person so I hope you guys know that I’m not doing this for attention, 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 not necessary, but until then I will do my best and my part to cultivate a culture that’s accepting and compassionate.”

The 28-year-old Nassib has played five seasons in the NFL, recording 135 tackles, 20.5 sacks, 16 knockdowns, three forced fumbles, one fumble recovery, and one interception in 73 games.

“The NFL family is proud of Carl for courageously sharing his truth today,” commissioner Roger Goodell said in a statement. “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 coming season.”

“Only until recently, thanks to my family and friends, especially Conor, Cason and Francis, did it seem possible for me to say publicly and proudly that I’m gay,” Nassib said. “I am also incredibly thankful for the NFL, my coaches and fellow players for their support. I would not have been able to do this without them. From the jump, I was greeted with the utmost respect and acceptance.”

Former Montreal Alouettes defensive lineman Michael Sam was the first openly gay active player in the CFL. He suited up in one regular season game for the Als on August 7, 2015 against the Ottawa Redblacks.