Carl Nassib, publicly came out as gay, becoming the first active NFL player in the history of the game. Nassib made the announcement from his personal Instagram where he said, “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 finally, feel comfortable enough to get it off my chest.”
“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.”, he further added in the announcement video. Nassib wished for a day where coming-out videos were not a necessity but said, “until then I am gonna do my best and do my part to cultivate a culture that’s accepting, that’s compassionate.” Taking a step forward in the right direction, the five-time NFL veteran also announced that he would donate $100,000 to The Trevor Project, an American NGO focused on suicide prevention among LGBTQ+ youth.
Official Reactions to the Announcement
Nassib’s club L.A. Raiders and the NFL were quick in showing their support for the athlete’s public announcement on Twitter.
Proud of you, Carl 🖤 pic.twitter.com/R9aJxYFefW
— Las Vegas Raiders (@Raiders) June 21, 2021
The NFL family is proud of you, Carl. ❤️ pic.twitter.com/HXbcBuLg2X
— NFL (@NFL) June 21, 2021
Furthermore, even U.S. President Joe Biden tweeted on the matter, believing this would have a positive impact on children.
To Carl Nassib and Kumi Yokoyama – two prominent, inspiring athletes who came out this week: I’m so proud of your courage. Because of you, countless kids around the world are seeing themselves in a new light today.
— President Biden (@POTUS) June 23, 2021
A look at the past
Yet amidst this positive news, we must also pay homage to Michael Sam who came out as gay back in 2014, before even being drafted by the St. Louis Rams. Sam played in their pre-season but did not make the cut for the final roster. Could his announcement have made an impact on his selection? While that remains impossible to ascertain, it definitely did impact his career, as Sam, after it never played a single season game ever, leading to a premature retirement citing mental health.
At this moment, Nassib is set to play his sixth season at the NFL, with the appreciation his announcement has garnered we can only hope for this to be a breakthrough moment in modern sports where one’s sexuality doesn’t determine their skill.