Raiders defensive lineman Carl Nassib has received support on social media Monday after coming out as gay. It makes him the first openly gay active player in the NFL as Michael Sam never played in a regular-season game.
So how will his team and his teammates handle his announcement?
Raiders owner Mark Davis applauded.
“These are personal decisions. It’s 2021, and he’s a Raider,” Davis told Ed Graney of the Las Vegas Review-Journal. “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.”
Nassib initially broke his news in a video he posted on his verified Instagram account. He later left a lengthy written post, explaining why it took him 15 years to tell the world and requesting others help play a part in reducing suicide rates within the LGBTQ community.
“Hey everyone, happy Pride Month,” Nassib wrote. “Right now, I am sitting in a moment of gratitude and relief. Sadly, I have agonized over this moment for the last 15 years. Only until recently, thanks to my family and friends, especially Conor, Cason and Francis, did it seem possible for me to say publicly and proudly that I’m gay. I am also incredibly thankful for the NFL, my coaches and fellow players for their support. I would not have been able to do this without them. From the jump, I was greeted with the utmost respect and acceptance.
“I truly love my life and cannot understand why I have been blessed with so much. I feel especially thankful to have had so much support when many who came before — and many even now — do not. I stand on the shoulders of giants, incredible people who paved the way for me to have this opportunity. I do not know all the history behind our courageous LGBTQ community but I am eager to learn and to help continue the fight for quality and acceptance.
“As I mentioned in my video message, I am partnering with The Trevor Project when I learned about their mission to provide suicide prevention services to the LGBTQ community. Young LGBTQ kids are over 5x more likely than their straight friends to consider suicide. For someone like me, who has been so lucky and cherishes every day, it brings me incredible sadness to think that out LGBTQ youth are at such an elevated risk for suicide. I feel an immense responsibility to help in any way I can — and you can too. Studies have shown that all it takes is one accepting adult to decrease the risk of an LGBTQ kid attempting suicide by 40%. Whether you’re a friend, a parent, a coach or a teammate — you can be that person.
“Lastly, I hope everyone can understand that I am just one person. I am a lanky walk-on who is living his dream. I only have a small window to achieve greatness in my sport and I owe it to my team, coaches and Raider fans to be completely locked in and at my best for the upcoming season. I’m a private person, so I’d ask the media to give me some space as I navigate this exciting time in my life. Please do not take it personally if I decline an interview or am unable to answer your questions. Thank you everyone for your support.”
Nassib, 28, has played five NFL seasons. He started five games for the Raiders in 2020.