, a defensive lineman for the Las Vegas Raiders
, came out as gay on Monday, becoming the first active NFL player to do so.
“What’s up, people
. I’m Carl Nassib. I’m at my house
in West Chester, Pennsylvania
,” Nassib wrote on Instagram
. “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 getting it off my chest. I truly have the best life, the best family
, and job a guy could ask for.”
This post was shared by Carl Nassib (@carlnassib) on Instagram.
Nassib emphasized that he hopes he is not perceived as someone seeking attention and that he is "sitting in a moment of gratitude and relief" after "agonizing over this moment for the last 15 years."
“I just think that representation
and visibility are so important,” he said, adding, “I actually hope that one day videos like this and the entire coming out
process are no longer necessary, but until then, I will do my best and do my part to cultivate an accepting and compassionate culture.”
Nassib stated in his post that he will donate $100,000 to The Trevor Project, an organization that provides crisis intervention
prevention resources to LGBTQ youth
According to a 2016 study, lesbian, gay, and bisexual youth consider suicide at nearly three times the rate of straight youth and are nearly five times more likely to have attempted suicide. In a separate national study, 40% of transgender
adults reported attempting suicide, with 92% doing so before the age of 25.
According to SB Nation, the 28-year-old is entering his sixth NFL season, his second with the Raiders, and both the Raiders and the NFL expressed their pride
in Nassib's announcement.
Nassib stated that he is "extremely grateful to the NFL, my coaches, and my fellow players for their support," and that he has been "greeted with the utmost respect and acceptance" since his arrival.
According to Outsports, 15 players have come out after retiring from the sport, which has traditionally been associated with 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 the Seattle Seahawks
defensive lineman Michael Sam made headlines in 2014 for coming out as gay. Sam, a first-team All-American after the 2013 season, was eligible for the 2014 NFL draft
and was expected to be the league's first active openly gay player.
“We admire Michael Sam’s honesty and courage,” the NFL said in response to the then-24-year-old’s announcement, adding, “Michael is a football
player. Any player with ability and determination can succeed in the NFL.”
Despite winning one of college
football's most prestigious awards, Sam was drafted 249th in the seventh round of the 2014 NFL Draft by the St. Louis
After recording three sacks and 11 tackles in the preseason, the Rams did not select him for their 53-man active roster or 10-man practice squad, and he was later signed to the Dallas Cowboys' practice squad before being waived by the team.
“For the time being, there is no other explanation for Michael Sam’s collective snub: NFL team front offices are not treating Michael Sam equally simply because he is openly gay,” Outsports co-founder Cyd Zeigler wrote at the time.
Nassib wrote in his Monday post that he is "especially grateful to have had so much support when many who came before — and many who come now — do not."
“I stand on the shoulders of giants
, incredible people who paved the way for me to have this opportunity,” he said, adding, “I do not know the entire history
of our courageous LGBTQ community, but I am eager to learn and to help continue the fight for equality and acceptance.”
According to GLAAD President
Sarah Kate Ellis, Nassib's coming out "is a historic reflection of the growing state of LGBTQ visibility and inclusion in the world of professional sports, which has been driven by a long list of brave 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 sports, but it will also send a strong message to so many LGBTQ people, particularly youth, that they, too, can one day grow up to be and succeed as a professional athlete like him.”