pride month

Carl Nassib Is the NFL’s First Active Out Gay Player

Photo: Amy Lemus/NurPhoto via Getty Images

Las Vegas Raiders defensive end Carl Nassib came out during this last full week of Pride, making him the first active NFL player in the LBGT+ community. “I just want to take a quick moment to say that I’m gay,” the DE said in a video message on Instagram. “I’ve been meaning to do this for a while, but I finally feel comfortable enough to get it off my chest.” Nassib stressed the importance of representation and visibility, saying that he hopes coming-out videos eventually become completely unnecessary.

“I really have the best life,” Nassib said in the video. “I’ve got the best family, friends, and job a guy could ask for.” Nassib is donating $100,000 to the Trevor Project, the suicide-prevention hotline for LGBT+ youth.

Nassib is the first NFL player to come out while still playing football. Per SB Nation, there have been 15 gay or bi players in NFL history, none of whom came out while playing. Michael Sam was drafted while out, but never actually played an in-season game. He later became the Canadian Football League’s first out gay player. This will be Nassib’s sixth season in the NFL. Before playing for the Raiders, he was on the Cleveland Browns and Tampa Bay Buccaneers. In college, he played for Penn State.

Update 7:12PM: Amit Paley CEO & Executive Director of The Trevor Project thanked Nassib in a statement given to Vulture. “Coming out is an intensely personal decision, and it can be an incredibly scary and difficult one to make. We hope that Carl’s historic representation in the NFL will inspire young LGBTQ athletes across the country to live their truth and pursue their dreams,” he said. “At a time when state lawmakers are actively trying to restrict transgender and nonbinary youth’s participation in school sports, this news should serve as a clarion call for greater LGBTQ inclusion in the locker room and on the field.”

Carl Nassib Is the NFL’s First Active Out Gay Player