Raiders' Carl Nassib Says He Feared Coming Out Publicly Would 'Ruin His Career': 'It Was Not Easy'

"I wanted to make sure I was financially stable before I did it," Las Vegas Raiders star Carl Nassib said

Carl Nassib
Photo: Ethan Miller/Getty Images

Carl Nassib is opening up about the internal thought process he went through before publicly coming out as gay earlier this year.

While appearing on Comeback Stories with Darren Waller and Donny Starkins for his first interview since he announced his sexuality, the Las Vegas Raiders defensive end, 28, explained that he had concerns about how coming out publicly could potentially "ruin" his career with the National Football League (NFL).

"I thought about it every once in a while. Thought about how I wanted to do it. When I could do it," Nassib said. "I didn't know how people would react. I wanted to make sure I was financially stable before I did it."

The athlete added, "I didn't know if it would ruin my career. I didn't know if guys would be supportive or not."

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In June, Nassib made history when he announced he was gay, making himself the first active NFL player to come out.

"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 filmed at his home in West Chester, Pennsylvania, at the time.

"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 on Instagram. "I actually hope that one day, videos like this and the whole coming out process are just not necessary."

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"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."

Nassib also noted in his 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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While a number of NFL players have come out after their playing careers, an openly gay player had never played in a regular-season game prior to Nassib, 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.

During his candid conversation with Comeback Stories, Nassib explained that he didn't know he was gay until about four years ago when he was still at the beginning of his NFL career.

But, Nassib said, he felt he had a responsibility to the LGBTQ community to come out publicly.

"When I decided to come out, it was not easy," he shared. "Personally, for my life, I didn't want to do it. But I felt a huge obligation to my community, to all the young kids out there who are struggling with their sexuality. If I could help just a few of them out, then I could sleep better at night."

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