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Raiders DE Carl Nassib comes out as gay, becomes first active NFL player to do so

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Las Vegas Raiders defensive end Carl Nassib did something no active NFL player has ever done before on Monday afternoon.

He came out as gay.

Nassib made the announcement while speaking in an Instagram video from his Pennsylvania home — which he said was long overdue.

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“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,” Nassib said.

“I really have the best life. I’ve got the best family, friends and job a guy can 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 my part to cultivate a culture that’s accepting and compassionate.”

Nassib becomes first openly gay active NFL player

Nassib is entering his sixth season in the league this fall and his second with the Raiders, who signed him to a three-year, $25 million deal before last season. 

Nassib racked up 28 total tackles and 2.5 sacks last year in Las Vegas. He also spent two seasons apiece with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers and Cleveland Browns, who first selected him in the third round of the 2016 draft.

The former Penn State walk-on wrote that he is “incredibly thankful” to the league, his coaches and teammates for their support.

“I would not have been able to do this without them. From the jump, I was greeted with the utmost respect and acceptance,” he wrote. “I truly love my life and cannot understand why I have been blessed this much. I feel especially thankful to have had so much support when many who came before — and many even now — do not.”

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"The NFL family is proud of Carl for courageously sharing his truth today," NFL commissioner Roger Goodell said in a statement. "Representation matters. 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."

The 28-year-old also pledged a $100,000 donation to the Trevor Project, an organization dedicated to helping LGBTQ youth.

Nassib is now the first player in NFL history to come out as gay or bisexual while still active in the league. 

Several players have done so in retirement, including former Chiefs and Patriots offensive lineman Ryan O'Callaghan, former Washington tight end Jerry Smith and former Cowboys linebacker Jerry Rohrer. Michael Sam came out after his college career at Missouri, but he never made it out of the preseason.

Nassib received support on social media after the announcement, too, including from former Penn State teammate and New York Giants running back Saquon Barkley.

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Penn State coach James Franklin praised his former player, too, and announced that he and his wife had also donated to the Trevor Project in his honor.

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Carl Nassib of the Las Vegas Raiders came out as gay on Instagram on Monday, becoming the first active NFL player to ever do so. (Ethan Miller/Getty Images)
Carl Nassib of the Las Vegas Raiders came out as gay on Instagram on Monday, becoming the first active NFL player to ever do so. (Ethan Miller/Getty Images)

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