Las Vegas Raiders Player Carl Nassib Becomes First Active NFL Player to Come Out as Gay

"I feel especially thankful to have had so much support when many who came before — and many even now — do not," the defensive end said in a statement Monday

carl nassib
Carl Nassib. Photo: Ethan Miller/Getty

Carl Nassib just made NFL history.

The Las Vegas Raiders defensive end, 28, came out on Monday, sharing publicly that he is gay — making him the first active NFL player to do so.

"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," he said in a video taken at his home in West Chester, Pennsylvania.

"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," Nassib continued in the video, which he shared in an Instagram post. "I actually hope that one day, videos like this and the whole coming out process are just not necessary."

"But until then, you know, I'm going to do my best and do my part to cultivate a culture that's accepting, that's compassionate, and I'm gonna start by donating $100,000 to the Trevor Project," he said, adding in a written statement included in the post that he feels an "immense responsibility to help in any way [he] can."

"I'm really pumped for what the future holds," the Penn State University alum added in his video message.

"We're proud of you, Carl. ❤️," the official NFL account commented on his post. The Las Vegas Raiders also shared Nassib's statement on Twitter, writing, "Proud of you, Carl."

NFL commissioner Roger Goodell even issued a statement of his own following Nassib's coming out video. "The NFL family is proud of Carl for courageously sharing his truth today. Representation matters," wrote Goodell. "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."

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While a number of NFL players have come out after their playing careers, an openly gay player has never played in a regular season game, according to NBC Sports. Michael Sam came out in 2014 and became the first openly gay player to be drafted into the NFL, but only played in the preseason, NPR reported.

Nassib added in his written statement that he feels "especially thankful to have had so much support when many who came before — and many even now — do not."

"I stand on the shoulders of giants, incredible people who paved the way for me to have this opportunity," he said. "I do not know all the history behind our courageous LGBTQ community, but I am eager to learn and to help continue the fight for equality and acceptance."

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