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Raiders Defensive Lineman Carl Nassib Becomes NFL's First Openly Gay Active Player


Raiders defensive lineman Carl Nassib made NFL history on Monday, becoming the first active player to announce he is gay.

Nassib made his announcement on Instagram, noting he "finally feel[s] comfortable getting it off my chest."

"What’s up people, I’m at my house in West Chester, Pennsylvania. I just wanted to take a quick moment to say that I’m gay," Nassib said. "I’ve been meaning to do this for a while now but finally feel comfortable getting it off my chest. I really have the best life, 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 not doing this for attention. I just think that representation and visibility are so important."

Nassib added he will be donating $100,000 to The Trevor Project, an organization working to prevent suicide among LGBTQ+ youth. 

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NFL commissioner Roger Goodell applauded Nassib on Monday evening for "courageously sharing his truth."

"The NFL family is proud of Carl courageously sharing his truth today," 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."

Several NFL players have previously announced they are gay after their conclusion of their playing careers. Former Missouri defensive lineman Michael Sam became the first openly gay player selected in the NFL draft in 2014, but he didn't make the team's regular-season roster. Jason Collins became the first active openly gay NBA player in 2013. 

"I'm a 34-year-old NBA center. I'm black. And I'm gay," Collins wrote in Sports Illustrated. "I didn't set out to be the first openly gay athlete playing in a major American team sport. But since I am, I'm happy to start the conversation."

Nassib, 28, has played five NFL seasons, recording 20.5 sacks after being selected in the third round of the 2016 NFL draft. He added Monday he hopes announcements like his won't be necessary in future years due to greater tolerance across sports. 

"I actually hope one day videos like this and the whole coming out process just isn't necessary." Nassib said. "But until then I will do my best and my part to cultivate a culture that’s accepting and compassionate."