Raiders defensive end Carl Nassib has become the NFL’s first active openly gay player.
Nassib, who played for the Bucs in the 2018 and 2019 seasons, made an announcement on Instagram from his home in West Chester, Pa.
“I just want to take a quick moment to say that I’m gay,” said Nassib, 28. “I’ve been meaning to do this for a while now, but I 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.”
Nassib also announced he is donating $100,000 to the Trevor Project, a nonprofit organization that focuses on suicide prevention programs for LGBTQ youth.
“I actually hope that like, one day, videos like this and the whole coming-out process are just not necessary,” Nassib said. “But until then, I’m going to do my best and do my part to cultivate a culture that’s accepting and that’s compassionate.”
A former Penn State walk-on who evolved into the 2015 Lombardi Award winner, Nassib has spent five seasons in the NFL. His announcement comes more than seven years after Missouri defensive end Michael Sam announced he was gay shortly after his college career ended. Sam was drafted by the Rams in the seventh round in 2014, but never made a regular-season active roster.
“These are personal decisions,” Raiders owner Mark Davis told Las Vegas Review-Journal columnist Ed Graney. “It’s 2021 and he’s a Raider. If he’s happy, I’m happy. It takes courage. I thought we got to the point where this wasn’t (a story). It doesn’t change my opinion of him as a man or as a Raider.”
In a statement released by the NFL early Monday evening, commissioner Roger Goodell said he’s “proud” of Nassib for “courageously sharing his truth.”
“Representation matters,” Goodell said. “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.”
• • •
Sign up for the Bucs RedZone newsletter to get updates and analysis on the latest team and NFL news from Bucs beat writer Joey Knight.