Meet Carl Nassib, Raiders Defensive Lineman Who Just Became First ACTIVE Out Gay Player In NFL History
Let's start this day off with an absolutely happy story. Did you hear that for the very first time in history, an active NFL player has come out as gay? Yes, that had not happened yet, until this year of our Lord 2021. There had been retired players. There had been Michael Sam, who was an NFL prospect when he came out.
And they paved the way for this casual-seeming Instagram message posted yesterday by Raiders defensive lineman Carl Nassib:
The New York Times provides some of the transcript we don't feel like typing:
"I just want to take a quick moment to say that I'm gay," Nassib said in a video posted to his Instagram account. "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, that's compassionate," before adding that he would donate $100,000 to The Trevor Project, a nonprofit group that focuses on suicide prevention efforts among lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, queer and questioning youth.
"Sadly, I have agonized over this moment for the last 15 years," he wrote in the same post.
And now he doesn't have to agonize anymore, because he did it, which, for the sake of oversharing, we remember a mentor-type figure saying to us 22 years ago the day after we told our own personal parents we were gay. "You did it!"
And since it's 2021, the immediate reaction has been overwhelming support, from inside the NFL world and outside of it. Or if there's a bunch of backlash from dead-enders, we are not looking for it at the moment, because life is very short to waste on people like that. (Whoever the haters are, we bet they are so mad.)
The Raiders chimed in on Twitter.
Here's Billie Jean King, throwing her support Nassib's way, saying "The ability to live an authentic life is so important."
And here's the statement from NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell, yes, Roger Goodell:
"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. We wish Carl the best of luck this coming season."
OK, so it sounds like he kinda copied Nassib's Insta post, but sure, whatever, we'll take it.
This, from Nassib's former coach at Penn State is ... awwwww.
James Franklin, Nassib's former coach at Penn State, said, "Carl's brave announcement will forge a path for others to be true to their authentic self. I was proud of Carl when he led the nation in sacks, but I'm even more proud of him now."
This is going to help kids out there.
Things have changed wildly for people coming out, in pretty much every arena in American life, in the past couple of decades, including in the wide world of sports. But we always have to remember there are still LGBTQ kids growing up in houses in the 'burbs or wherever, for whom it's just as difficult as it's always been, because their parents or extended families or churches are giant bigots. There aren't as many of those kids now, hopefully, with 70 percent of Americans supportive of marriage equality. But they're there. Maybe they live next door to a supportive family, maybe they don't. Maybe they have trusted teachers or coaches or other people at school they can confide in, maybe they don't. Maybe they go to a retrograde Christian private school that started out, like so many of them did, as a segregation academy. Maybe they're home-schooled.
It matters for them to turn on the TV and see a football player like Carl Nassib living his truth. Or their favorite Hollywood actor. Or for them to see LGBTQ folks out and about, living happy lives, despite their parents' best efforts to shelter them from that reality.
And as grating as cheesy corporate pride campaigns can be, it also matters when fucking breakfast cereal goes gay for the month of June.
It all matters.
As the Times notes, Nassib is currently on his third NFL team, landing with the Raiders after stints with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers and the Cleveland Browns. And that is the last fact we will include in this post, because we feel we've shown remarkable restraint so far in writing all of this without saying anything about Carl Nassib's hot arms, but we can't guarantee our continued good behavior if we write any more paragraphs.
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