Former Penn State DE Carl Nassib comes out as 1st openly gay active NFL player

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Tuesday, June 22, 2021
Former PSU DE Nassib comes out as 1st openly gay active NFL player
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Las Vegas Raiders player Carl Nassib came out as gay in an Instagram video Monday afternoon, making him the first openly gay active player in NFL history.

WEST CHESTER, Pa. (WPVI) -- Las Vegas Raiders player and former Penn State University defensive end Carl Nassib came out as gay in an Instagram video Monday afternoon, making him the first openly gay active player in NFL history.

"I've been meaning to do this for a while now, but I finally feel comfortable enough to get it off my chest," Nassib said in an Instagram video from his home in West Chester, Pennsylvania.

I think that representation and visibility are so important. I actually hope that one day, videos like this and the whole coming out process are just not necessary," he continued. "But until then, I'm going to do my best and do my part to cultivate a culture that's accepting, that's compassionate."

Nassib said he was donating $100,000 to The Trevor Project, the nation's largest organization for LGBTQ+ youth suicide prevention.

On Tuesday, the NFL confirms to ABC News that the league will match Nassib's $100,000 pledge.

Hudson Taylor, founder and executive director of Athlete Ally, an organization that works to end homophobia and transphobia in sport, said the LGBTQ+ community calls this a monumental moment.

"It says to that young LGBTQ person, 'You have a place in sports, you can pursue and achieve what I have and you don't have to be afraid or ashamed of who you are,'" said Taylor.

More than 1.8 million LGBTQ youth (13-24) seriously consider suicide each year in the U.S., according to the non-profit the Trevor Project.

"Unfortunately in many locker rooms and on many teams, it's also a space where homophobic and sexist language is very commonplace," said Taylor. "It's kind of a tool athletes have been given to put one another down. So as a result, it historically is not a welcoming place for many LGBTQ athletes."

Nassib was drafted by the Cleveland Browns in the third round of the 2016 NFL draft. He played for the Browns from 2016-2017, the Tampa Bay Buccaneers in 2018 and 2019 and was signed by the Raiders as an unrestricted free agent on March 23, 2020.

"The NFL family is proud of Carl for courageously sharing his truth today. 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," said NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell in a statement.

Nassib went to Malvern Prep and played for Penn State from 2011 to 2015.

"Carl always has been a leader, a natural leader,somebody who has the ability to be fearless, to put himself out there for the better of other people," said Ron Algeo, assistant head of school at Malvern Prep.

James Franklin, Penn State's head coach, said he and his wife are making a donation to The Trevor Project in honor of Nassib.

Franklin released this statement on Nassib's courage:

"I am very proud of Carl for his courage and voice. This announcement doesn't surprise me because if you know Carl, you know his strength. Carl's story continues to add chapters which will have an impact well beyond the field of play. His care and love for those around him, particularly those in need, has always been obvious. His generosity and advocacy for The Trevor Project is yet another shining example of his huge heart. He has inspired Fumi and I to donate $10,000 to The Trevor Project as well. Carl's brave announcement will forge a path for others to be true to their authentic self. I was proud of Carl when he led the nation in sacks, but I'm even more proud of him now."