NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) — There’s a milestone in professional sports during this Pride Month; for the first time, an NFL player who has been active in the regular season has announced he is gay.
Las Vegas Raiders defensive lineman Carl Nassib came out to fans in a video posted on social media.READ MORE: Broadway Returns After Nearly 17-Month Shutdown With 1st Performances Of 'Pass Over'
It’s a declaration Nassib says was 15 years in the making.
He took to Instagram to say, “I just wanted to take a quick moment to say that I’m gay … I finally feel comfortable enough to get it off my chest.”
In Midtown is the Raiders Bar, Peter Dillon’s, where CBS2’s Dave Carlin talked to fans.
“I hope his team and the league and all the fans support him accordingly,” one fan said.
“I have more bigger things to worry about,” another fan said.
Nassib is the first openly gay NFL athlete playing in a regular season. Other NFL players came out as gay after they retired.
In 2014, Michael Sam was the first openly gay player drafted by an NFL team, but he did not end up playing in a regular season after he was picked.
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Carl Nassib thank you for owning your truth and especially your donation to the @TrevorProject. LBGTQ people are more likely to commit suicide than heterosexuals. I hope and pray people will take note to this. Thank you again Carl and look forward to seeing you play on the field.
— Michael Sam (@MichaelSam52) June 22, 2021
He said to Nassib in a tweet, “thank you for owning your truth.”
Fellow players like Saquon Barkley, JJ Watt and Solomon Thomas also showed support online.
Much respect brudda ✊🏾 https://t.co/1G2ewVOWje
— Saquon Barkley (@saquon) June 21, 2021
Good for you Carl.
Glad you feel comfortable enough to share and hopefully someday these types of announcements will no longer be considered breaking news. https://t.co/eevr8cgRay
— JJ Watt (@JJWatt) June 22, 2021
“I actually hope that one day videos like this and the whole coming out process are just not necessary,” Nassib said in his Instagram video.
NFL commissioner Roger Goodell released a statement that the league shares Nassib’s hope that “someday soon statements like his will no longer be newsworthy.”
So what does this mean for the NFL and the Raiders?
Carlin went to Todd Sears, who is the founder and CEO of Out Leadership, which is a global strategic business advisory firm, and he said this represents an opportunity.
“The NFL is a major corporation, not just the people on the field, and the impact that he has across the entire culture of the NFL, I think, can’t be underestimated,” he said. “Who knows how many of his player friends and colleagues have gay siblings, have gay kids or are LGBTQ themselves.”
Sears said the NFL would be smart to show pride and donate money to LGBTQ+ causes, like the 28-year-old player has done.MORE NEWS: Long Island Bus Driver Charged With DWI, Leaving Scene Of 2 Accidents
He announced with his coming out that he is also donating $100,000 to the Trevor Project, a suicide prevention and crisis intervention organization for LGBTQ+ youth.