OAKLAND, Calif. - Posting a video on social media Monday, Carl Nassib, a six-year NFL pro and defensive end for the Las Vegas Raiders, made history by announcing that he is gay.
"What's up people. I'm Carl Nassib. I'm at my house in Westchester, Pennsylvania. I've been meaning to do this for a while now and I want to take a quick moment to say that I'm gay," said Nassib in a video posted on his Instagram page.
His deeply personal announcement made him the first active NFL player to be openly gay.
"I'm a pretty private person so I hope you know I'm not doing this for attention I just think representation and visibility are so important," said Nassib.
Coming out during June Pride Month, many members of the LGBTQ community were thrilled to see that Nassib received support from NFL commissioner Roger Goodell and beyond.
"The NFL family is proud of Carl for courageously sharing his truth today," Goodell said in a statement, "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."and the raiders team leadership.
"He came out with pride and no other athlete has been able to come out like he did," said Joe Hawkins, CEO of the Oakland LGBTQ Community Center. Hawkins helped name the center's clinic after Glenn Burke, an Oakland native and openly gay Major League Baseball player who helped pave the way.
"Glenn Burke was blackballed for being unapologetically gay," said Hawkins, "It's really a new day and I think that there's so much hope. We're very hopeful and I look forward to more athletes come out as LGBTQ."
It wasn't just Nassib's own visibility that touched many people in the LGBTQ community. His actions also spoke volumes.
"I'm going to do my part to cultivate compassion," said Nassib, "And start by donating $100,000 to The Trevor Project."
The Trevor Project, which provides suicide prevention and crisis intervention services for LGBTQ youth sent KTVU their reaction in a statement.
"The Trevor Project is grateful to Carl Nassib for living his truth and supporting LGBTQ youth. This generous donation will help us scale our life-saving crisis services to reach the more than 1.8 million LGBTQ youth who seriously consider suicide each year in the U.S.," said the statement by Amit Paley, CEO & Executive Director of The Trevor Project.
"Coming out is an intensely personal decision, and it can be an incredibly scary and difficult one to make. We hope that Carl’s historic representation in the NFL will inspire young LGBTQ athletes across the country to live their truth and pursue their dreams," Paley noted.
"At a time when state lawmakers are actively trying to restrict transgender and nonbinary youth’s participation in school sports, this news should serve as a clarion call for greater LGBTQ inclusion in the locker room and on the field," said Paley.
"It will raise a lot of money for them with that one post," said Jim Buzinski, founder of Outsports.com, who says he's waited decades to celebrate this emotional moment.
"I sort of teared up when I called up a friend who had played in the NFL and was closeted when he played. And just to tell him this exciting news, he had such a great reaction," said Buzinski.
Some fans say they're glad for the example it sets for youth.
"Being gay is okay and it's acceptable and it doesn't make you any less of an athlete," said Martin Stoufer, an Alameda resident, "It's great the league is finally recognizing that and treating them as equals."
Former University of Missouri defensive star Michael Sam was the first openly gay football player ever selected in the NFL draft, going in the seventh round to the then-St. Louis Rams in 2014. But he never made the final roster and retired in 2015 having never played in an NFL regular-season game.
Nassib is a sixth-year pro who was drafted by the Cleveland Browns in 2016 in the third round (65th overall) out of Penn State. He played two seasons for the Browns and two for Tampa Bay before joining the Raiders in 2020. He has 20 1/2 sacks in 73 career games.
More than a dozen NFL players have come out as gay after their careers were over.
Jana Katsuyama is a reporter for KTVU. Email Jana at email@example.com and follow her on Twitter @JanaKTVU or Facebook @NewsJana or ktvu.com.