Carl Nassib becomes first active NFL player to come out as gay

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Las Vegas Raiders defensive end Carl Nassib (94) leaves the field after an NFL football game.
Las Vegas Raiders defensive end Carl Nassib leaves the field after a game against the Atlanta Falcons in November. (John Bazemore / Associated Press)

On Monday, Raiders defensive end Carl Nassib made history, becoming the first active NFL player to come out as gay.

"What's up people?" Nassib said in a video posted to his Instagram account. "I'm at my house here in West Chester, Pennsylvania. 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 I finally feel comfortable enough to get it off my chest. I really have the best life, I've got the best family, friends and job a guy could ask for.

"I'm a pretty private person, so I hope you guys know that I'm really 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 just not necessary. But until then, I'm going to do my best and do my part to cultivate a culture that's accepting, that's compassionate and I'm going to start by donating $100,000 to the Trevor Project."

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The Trevor Project, which Nassib said he plans to partner with, provides suicide prevention services and crisis intervention to the LGBTQ community.

"The Trevor Project is grateful to Carl Nassib for living his truth and supporting LGBTQ youth," Trevor Project CEO and executive director Amit Paley said in a statement. "This generous donation will help us scale our life-saving crisis services to reach the more than 1.8 million LGBTQ youth who seriously consider suicide each year in the U.S.

"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."

Nassib, who enters his sixth year in the league, had 2½ sacks for the Raiders in 2020 and 20½ in his career. Defensive end Michael Sam became the first openly gay player to be drafted when the Rams took him in the seventh round in 2014, but never played in a regular-season game.

The Raiders supported Nassib on Twitter, posting, "Proud of you, Carl," with a black heart emoji.

James Franklin, Nassib's coach at Penn State, supported him in a statement, saying he and his wife, Fumi, would be donating $10,000 to The Trevor Project.

"I am very proud of Carl for his courage and voice," Franklin said. "The announcement doesn't surprise me because if you know Carl, you know his strength. Carl's story continues to add chapters which will have an impact well beyond the field of play.

"... Carl's brave announcement will forge a path for others to be true to their authentic selves. I was proud of Carl when he led the nation in sacks, but I'm even more proud of him now."

In his caption on Instagram, Nassib wrote that he is eager to speak out and advocate for the LGBTQ community.

"I feel an immense responsibility to help in any way I can — and you can too," Nassib wrote. "Studies have shown that all it takes is one accepting adult to decrease the risk of an LGBTQ kid attempting suicide by 40%. Whether you're a friend, a parent, a coach, or a teammate — you can be that person."

This story originally appeared in Los Angeles Times.

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