Raiders Lineman Carl Nassib Becomes First Active NFL Player To Come Out As Gay

by : Hannah Smith on : 22 Jun 2021 09:14
Raiders Lineman Becomes First Active NFL Player To Come Out As GayPA Images

Carl Nassib has become the first active NFL player to come out as gay, in what campaigners have described as a ‘historic’ moment for LGBTQ representation.

In a video posted to Instagram, Nassib, a defensive lineman for the Las Vegas Raiders, said he had ‘agonized over this moment for the last 15 years,’ and had only recently reached the point where it seemed ‘possible for me to say publicly and proudly that I’m gay.’


He told his followers: ‘I just want 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.’

Nassib added that while he was a ‘private person,’ he had chosen to make the step to publicly identify himself as gay to help improve LGBTQ+ visibility in sports.

‘I just think that representation and visibility are so important,’ he said, adding ‘I actually hope that 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.’


Alongside his statement, Nassib also announced he was making a $100,000 donation to LGBTQ suicide prevention charity The Trevor Project.

Carl Nassib announced he was gay in an Instagram video (PA Images)PA Images

Nassib, 28, is entering his fifth season in the NFL, having been drafted in 2016 by the Cleveland Browns. If he plays a game during the forthcoming season, he will become the first actively gay player in the NFL’s 101 year history, according to The New York Times. In 2014, Michael Sam became the first gay player to be drafted by an NFL team, but he was later cut from the roster without playing a regular season game.

NFL commissioner Roger Goodell praised Nassib in a statement, saying, ‘The NFL family is proud of Carl for courageously sharing his truth today. Representation matters.’


Sarah Ellis, chief executive of Glaad, said Nassib’s announcement was ‘a historic reflection of the growing state of L.G.B.T.Q. visibility and inclusion in the world of professional sports.’

In a tweet, his team wrote simply ‘proud of you, Carl.’

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Hannah Smith

Hannah Smith is a London-based journalist at UNILAD. After studying History at UCL she worked for print publications on both sides of the pond, including spells at Harper's Magazine and The Times, before graduating with an MA in Newspaper Journalism from City, University of London.

Topics: Sport, Coming Out, LGBTQ+, NFL, Now


New York Times
  1. New York Times

    Raiders’ Carl Nassib Announces He’s Gay, an N.F.L. First