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First Active NFL Player Says He's Gay

Raiders' Carl Nassib says he's agonized over announcement for years
By Bob Cronin,  Newser Staff
Posted Jun 21, 2021 7:16 PM CDT

(Newser) – For the first time, an active NFL player has announced he's gay. "I just want to take a quick moment to say that I'm gay," Carl Nassib says in a video he posted Monday on Instagram, the New York Times reports. "Sadly, I have agonized over this moment for the last 15 years," he wrote in the post. Nassib, 28, has been in the league for five years and now is a defensive lineman for the Las Vegas Raiders. He said that he's a private person who isn't seeking attention but that "I finally feel comfortable enough to get it off my chest." Nassib said he hopes that someday it won't be necessary to go through "the whole coming out process," per CNN. But for now, he said, "I just think that representation and visibility are so important."

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In a statement, NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell said he's proud of Nassib and also expressed hope such announcements "will no longer be newsworthy as we march toward full equality for the LGBTQ+ community." In his post, Nassib thanked the league, his coaches, and his teammates for their support. The first openly gay player to be drafted was Michael Sam in 2014, but he never made an active team roster. Nassib said Monday he wants to help develop an accepting and compassionate culture, per ESPN, and is starting by donating $100,000 to the Trevor Project. The organization provides crisis intervention services, including suicide prevention help, to the LGBTQ+ community. (Read more coming out of the closet stories.)

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