Raiders’ Carl Nassib Announces He’s Gay, an N.F.L. First


On Monday, Raiders defensive lineman Carl Nassib turned the primary lively N.F.L. participant to publicly declare that he’s homosexual.

“I simply need to take a fast second to say that I’m homosexual,” Nassib stated in a video posted to his Instagram account. “I simply assume that illustration and visibility are so essential. I really hope that like sooner or later movies like this and the entire coming-out course of are simply not mandatory, however till then I’m going to do my greatest and my half to domesticate a tradition that’s accepting, that’s compassionate,” earlier than including that he would donate $100,000 to The Trevor Mission, a nonprofit group that focuses on suicide prevention efforts amongst lesbian, homosexual, bisexual, transgender, queer and questioning youth.

“Sadly, I’ve agonized over this second for the final 15 years,” he wrote in the identical put up.

Nassib, a five-year N.F.L. veteran who beforehand performed with the Cleveland Browns and the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, stated he was lastly “snug getting it off my chest.”

Nassib, 28, thanked his coaches, teammates and the N.F.L. for his or her assist.

“I might not be capable of do that with out them,” he wrote in his Instagram put up.

In a press release Monday, Commissioner Roger Goodell stated he was “happy with Carl for courageously sharing his reality immediately. Illustration issues.”

The Raiders rapidly confirmed their assist for Nassib’s announcement, writing “happy with you, Carl” in a put up to the group’s Twitter account that additionally included his authentic assertion. Two of his teammates, defensive lineman Darius Stills and edge rusher Maxx Crosby, voiced their assist by commenting below Nassib’s put up that they have been happy with him. DeMaurice Smith, government director of the N.F.L. Gamers Affiliation additionally stated in a Twitter put up that he and the union supported Nassib.

Nassib’s announcement, made throughout Delight Month, is a big turning level for the N.F.L., and makes him the primary brazenly homosexual lively participant within the league’s 101-year historical past.

“Sports activities are, in some ways, one of many final bastions of a spot the place homophobia can thrive,” stated Cathy Renna, a spokeswoman for the Nationwide L.G.B.T.Q. Activity Pressure. “So to have knowledgeable athlete of that caliber, notably in one of many main sports activities leagues just like the N.F.L., it truly is historic.”

A bevy of present and former athletes from round sports activities reacted positively to Nassib’s announcement, together with the retired tennis star Billie Jean King, who wrote, “the power to stay an genuine life is so essential,” in a social media put up Monday.

Sarah Kate Ellis, chief government of the L.G.B.T.Q. advocacy group Glaad, referred to as the announcement “a historic reflection of the rising state of L.G.B.T.Q. visibility and inclusion on the planet {of professional} sports activities, which has been pushed by a protracted checklist of courageous L.G.B.T.Q. athletes who got here earlier than him.”

Michael Sam, an all-American defensive lineman at Missouri, had been seen because the more than likely to accumulate that distinction when he introduced he’s homosexual earlier than he being chosen by the Rams within the seventh spherical of the 2014 N.F.L. draft, however he was lower on the finish of that 12 months’s coaching camp. The Dallas Cowboys signed Sam to their observe squad, however he by no means performed in a daily season recreation.

Sam’s draft standing was seen as a barometer of whether or not the local weather of males’s professional sports activities was turning into extra accepting of homosexual athletes, notably as a result of in February 2014 the N.B.A. had simply change into the primary of the 4 conventional main American males’s sports activities leagues to have an brazenly homosexual lively participant when Jason Collins joined the Nets.

However Sam left the N.F.L. with out making an impression on the sector.

Nassib, against this, has already performed with three groups over 5 seasons and is below contract by way of 2022. After a collegiate profession at Penn State, he was chosen by the Browns within the third spherical of the 2016 draft. He performed two seasons in Cleveland earlier than enjoying two extra seasons in Tampa. The Raiders signed him to a three-year, $25 million contract in March 2020. He has tallied 20½ sacks throughout his profession.

A handful of N.F.L. gamers had beforehand introduced publicly that they have been homosexual, however all after their enjoying careers have been over. David Kopay turned the primary professional soccer participant to publicly come out as homosexual in 1975, three years after he retired. He performed for 9 seasons with the San Francisco 49ers and 4 different groups within the Nineteen Sixties and Seventies, and has since change into an activist and an envoy for the Homosexual Video games, a quadrennial sporting occasion.

Roy Simmons was the second former participant to announce that he was homosexual, doing so in 1992 after his profession with the Giants and Washington Soccer Crew had ended. He later disclosed he was H.I.V. constructive and died from pneumonia-related issues in 2014 at age 57.

Some gamers like Simmons stated they felt that they had no selection however to cover their sexual id whereas they have been within the league. Simmons stated he cultivated a repute for being the lifetime of the social gathering, and needed to compartmentalize his soccer life and his private life.

Simmons additionally stated he by no means would have declared himself homosexual through the 4 seasons he performed for the N.F.L. for worry of destroying his profession.

‘’The N.F.L. has a repute,” he stated in 2003, “and it’s not even a verbal factor — it’s simply identified. You might be gladiators; you might be male; you kick butt.”

Lately, the league has publicly supported Delight Month by way of promotional efforts like altering official social media avatars to incorporate rainbows and supporting the You Can Play Mission, which offers sources to encourage inclusivity in youth sports activities, whilst some gamers have made derogatory statements about homosexual individuals with little penalty or supported teams that oppose homosexual rights.

In 2013, Chris Culliver of the San Francisco 49ers and Chris Clemons of the Seattle Seahawks made offensive feedback when requested in regards to the prospect of getting a homosexual teammate.

“Received no homosexual individuals on the group,” Culliver stated. “They gotta stand up outta right here in the event that they do.” Culliver later apologized, saying: “I’m sorry if I offended anybody. They have been very ugly feedback.”

San Francisco operating again Garrison Hearst apologized in 2002 for utilizing a slur and saying he wouldn’t desire a homosexual participant as a teammate. His remark got here after the previous Minnesota Vikings participant Esera Tuaolo publicly got here out as homosexual that 12 months after he had retired. Hearst’s remark elicited public apologies from the 49ers’ group house owners and then-head coach Steve Mariucci, however no penalty from the league.

“Being an African American, I do know that discrimination is mistaken,” Hearst later stated. “I used to be mistaken for saying what I stated about anyone, any race or any faith.”

The league had little to do with Sam’s announcement as a result of it got here earlier than he was drafted. Former N.F.L. gamers like Brendon Ayanbadejo, who performed with the Baltimore Ravens, defended same-sex marriage and homosexual rights and supported Sam on the time. However few lively gamers publicly echoed his assist.

Seven years after Sam’s announcement, Nassib’s announcement has been met with prepared public assist each from the league itself and the Raiders, a group that had beforehand made notable soccer milestones with its hires. Tom Flores, who’s Mexican-American, was the primary Latino coach within the N.F.L. to win a Tremendous Bowl. He gained two with the Raiders, within the 1980 and 1983 seasons.

Amy Trask in 1997 turned the Raiders’ chief government and the primary lady of that rank within the N.F.L. The group drafted Eldridge Dickey, the primary Black quarterback taken within the first spherical, in 1968, when the Raiders performed within the A.F.L.

“We hope that Carl’s historic illustration within the N.F.L. will encourage younger L.G.B.T.Q. athletes throughout the nation to stay their reality and pursue their desires,” Amit Paley, the manager director and chief government of the Trevor Mission, stated in a press release Monday.

Emmanuel Morgan and Jesus Jimenez contributed reporting.


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