Who is Carl Nassib? The First Openly Gay NFL Player

Who is Carl Nassib? The First Openly Gay NFL Player

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Las Vegas Raiders defensive lineman Carl Nassib walked outside his home in West Chester, Pa., looked directly into his phone and did something that he said he hoped would one day no longer be necessary.

In a few brief sentences, the 28-year-old Nassib came out as gay. The video clip he recorded and then posted to his Instagram account made him the first active N.F.L. player to do so.

“I’ve been meaning to do this for a while now,” Nassib said. “But I finally feel comfortable enough to get it off my chest.”

In the one-minute video and a statement that accompanied it, Nassib said he had agonized over the moment for 15 years, and that he had been meaning to make his announcement for a while. Conversations with friends and family made it possible, he said, for him to publicly say that he is gay.

His college coach, James Franklin, was among the first to release a statement of support for Nassib on Monday.

“I was proud of Carl when he led the nation in sacks,” Franklin said, “but I’m even more proud of him now.”

Some people may remember Nassib from an episode of the HBO football reality show “Hard Knocks.”

In the clip, Nassib uses a whiteboard and some quick math to teach other members of the Browns’ defensive line about compound interest and financial literacy.

In his Instagram post, Nassib thanked the N.F.L., his coaches and his peers in the league for their respect and acceptance, and acknowledged that many gay people before him did not receive that same support.

“I stand on the shoulders of giants, incredible people who paved the way for me to have this opportunity,” Nassib said. “I do not know all the history behind our courageous L.G.B.T.Q. community, but I am eager to learn and to help continue the fight for equality and acceptance.”


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