Las Vegas Raiders Defensive End Carl Nassib, 28, was drafted by the Browns in 2016 before moving on briefly to the Tampa Bay Buccaneers. In early 2020, he signed with the Raiders. Nassib stands 6'7" and weighs 275. With that kind of size, he's not the guy any quarterback wants to see barreling through the line aiming for a takedown.
Nassib also just announced that he is gay, becoming the first active NFL player to ever do so (running back David Kopay came out in 1975 after retiring from the game). Since his announcement, Nassib has received a good deal of vocal support from the league, fellow players, and sports media in general. Watch his Instagram video below.
"What's up people? I'm at my house here in West Chester, Pennsylvania," Nassib says in the video, "I just want to take a quick moment to say that I'm gay."
"I've been meaning to do this for a while now," he says, "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, like 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.
The Trevor Project is a nonprofit founded over 20 years ago that focuses on suicide prevention among lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, and queer (LGBTQ) youth.
Nassib's moment has become something of a moment for the NFL in general. Many athletes, organizations, and pundits took the opportunity to demonstrate that in 2021, the NFL doesn't care what you do in the bedroom, just whether you do your job or not.
NFL commissioner Roger Goodell issued a statement supporting Nassib, writing that the league shares "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."
ESPN quoted Raiders owner Mark Davis, who said, "It's 2021. All the more power to Carl. It doesn't change my opinion of him as a person or as a Raider."
Coach Jon Gruden responded by text to ESPN, saying that he "learned a long time ago what makes a man different is what makes him great."
While there has been homophobic pushback from some corners, the support for Nassib has been much louder and included celebs outside the world of sports like Billy Eichner...
And Star Trek actor and unofficial LGBTQ+ senior statesman George Takei.
The first Las Vegas Raiders game of the 2021-2022 NFL season will be on Sept. 13 against the Baltimore Ravens. Seems like a solid bet that there will be more rainbow flags and banners flying in the crowd than ever before that day when Carl Nassib takes the field.