'Historic day': NFL star becomes league's first openly gay player

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Carl Nassib, pictured here announcing on social media that he is gay.
Carl Nassib announced on social media that he is gay. Image: Getty/Instagram

Las Vegas Raiders defensive end Carl Nassib has announced that he is gay, becoming the first active NFL player to acknowledge his homosexuality.

Nassib made his proclamation in a video posted to Instagram on Monday.

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"I'm at my house here in West Chester, Pennsylvania," the 28-year-old 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 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 not necessary, but until then I am gonna do my best and do my part to cultivate a culture that's accepting that's compassionate."

June is Pride Month.

The Raiders star also wrote that he is “incredibly thankful” to the league, his coaches and teammates for their support.

Carl Nassib, pictured here pressuring San Diego Chargers quarterback Justin Herbert.
Carl Nassib pressures San Diego Chargers quarterback Justin Herbert. (Photo by Ethan Miller/Getty Images)

“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.”

Nassib also announced a $100,000 donation to the Trevor Project, which works to prevent suicides among LGBTQ youth in America.

"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."

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Carl Nassib to make history as NFL's first gay player

The 6-foot-7 Nassib was a third-round draft pick in 2016 by the Cleveland Browns. 

He spent two seasons with the Browns, followed by two with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers (2018-19) before signing a three-year, $25.3 million contract, including nearly $16.8 million in guarantees, with the Raiders in March 2020.

In 73 career games (37 starts), Nassib has 143 tackles, 20.5 sacks, 16 passes defensed, one interception, three forced fumbles and a fumble recovery.

He is on track to become the first openly gay player to play in a regular-season game. 

Defensive end Michael Sam came out as gay in 2014 before the St Louis Rams drafted him, but he did not make the final roster.

Several players have also 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.

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