Carl Nassib has become the first active NFL player to come out as gay.
Nassib, a defensive end for the Las Vegas Raiders who also previously played for the Tampa Bay Buccaneers and Cleveland Browns, made the announcement in a video posted to his official Instagram account on Monday.
“I just want to take a quick moment to say that I’m gay. I’ve been meaning to do this for a while now, but I finally felt comfortable enough to get it off my chest,” Nassib said from outside his home in West Chester, Pennsylvania.
“I really have the best life, I’ve got the best family, friends and job a guy could ask for. I’m a pretty private person, so I hope you guys know that I’m really not doing this for attention.
“I just 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.
“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 added that he would be donating $100,000 to the Trevor Project, an organisation offering crisis intervention and suicide prevention services to LGBTQ youth in America.
In a message to accompany his video, Nassib wrote: “Hey everyone, happy Pride Month. 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 Connor, 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 have 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 equality and acceptance.
“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. Happy Pride Month and Go Raiders.”
The Raiders and NFL both tweeted to say they were proud of Nassib, who said of his donation to the Trevor Project: “As I mentioned in my video message, I am partnering with The Trevor Project. I was immediately drawn to 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 our 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.”