News & Politics

Not Your Daddy's NFL: First Openly Gay Active Player Comes Out

AP Photo/David Zalubowski

This isn’t your daddy’s NFL.

Carl Nassib, a defensive end for the Las Vegas Raiders, announced on his Instagram yesterday that he is gay. The journeyman lineman became the first active NFL player to admit to being gay.

“What’s up, people? I’m Carl Nassib. I’m at my house here in West Chester, Pennsylvania. I just wanted to take a quick moment to say that I’m gay,” Nassib said in a video message. “I’ve been meaning to do this for a while now, but I finally feel comfortable enough to get it off my chest.”

Needless to say, only effusive praise and expressions of support are coming from players and others in the NFL. Nary a word is spoken (publicly) against him.

Washington Post:

Nassib, 28, added he hopes the “coming-out process” is no longer necessary in the future and he will donate $100,000 to the Trevor Project, a nonprofit that aims to prevent suicide among LGBTQ youths.

In a written message that followed the video, Nassib said he “agonized over this moment for the last 15 years” and only recently decided to make a public announcement, thanks to the support of family and friends.

Nassib also thanked the NFL, his coaches and fellow players, some of whom commented on his announcement online. New York Giants running back Saquon Barkley, who played with Nassib at Penn State, tweeted, “Much respect brudda.” Recently retired wide receiver Julian Edelman tweeted that it was an “awesome moment,” and former Washington cornerback DeAngelo Hall said he’s “extremely proud of Carl.”

NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell released a statement in support of Nassib “for courageously sharing his truth.” He also agreed with Nassib that he hoped (as anyone who writes for a living hopes) “someday soon statements like his will no longer be newsworthy as we march toward full equality for the LGBTQ+ community.”

It’s really not very newsworthy now, except the coming-out theater fulfills two vital purposes: (t allows people like Goodell to wallow in virtue signaling and it gives the gay community what they crave most — attention.

The president and CEO of the Gay & Lesbian Alliance Against Defamation (GLAAD), Sarah Kate Ellis, called Nassib’s announcement “historic.”

“As an accomplished athlete who is now the first out gay active player in the NFL,” Ellis said, “Carl Nassib’s story will not only have a profound impact on the future of LGBTQ visibility and acceptance in sports, but sends a strong message to so many LGBTQ people, especially youth, that they too can one day grow up to be and succeed as a professional athlete like him.”

So, I guess if you want your kid to grow up and be a gay NFL player, buy him a Nassib jersey.

Former NFL cornerback Wade Davis, who came out in 2012 nine years after he retired, sees Nassib’s coming out as part of the whole social justice thing.

“It is still somewhat novel to have a player, specifically a male in the big five sports, to come out,” said Davis, who was the NFL’s first LGBT inclusion consultant in 2012. “But for me, I think the level of sophistication that players will be able to talk about this will be the indicator about how far we’ve come. And not just players, but also coaches. … All of us have a responsibility to be better to push the conversation in a more holistic way.”

There is no stigma to being gay anymore. The stigma is on “homophobes” and others who don’t “accept” gay people. There will be very few of those in the NFL.

Perhaps that’s the way it should be.