Raiders defensive end Carl Nassib became the first openly gay player to play in an NFL game on Monday night, and it may be a sign of progress that when he spoke with reporters afterward, that wasn’t the first thing he was asked about.
Instead, Nassib spoke first about his sack and forced fumble that set up the Raiders’ game-winning touchdown in overtime. Only later did a reporter tell Nassib of a young fan who had never attended an NFL game before, but went to Monday night’s game in a Nassib jersey because Nassib inspired him.
“That’s amazing,” Nassib said. “It was really special. I’m really happy that we got the win on the day that kind of made a little bit of history which was really nice to do. Had a lot of people come before me in the LGBTQ community that helped me get to where I am. I’m super thankful for that. I can’t wait to get to Pittsburgh next week and keep this thing going.”
Michael Sam came out as openly gay before the Rams drafted him in 2014. Sam played in the preseason but never played in a regular-season game. Sam was the subject of intense media attention as a gay NFL player, but Nassib is getting attention mostly for just being a football player.