Who is Carl Nassib? NFL star comes out as 1st openly gay active player, gives Trevor Project $100K

Nassib said he was partnering with The Trevor Project -- a nonprofit organization that focuses on suicide prevention efforts among lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, queer and questioning youth

                            Who is Carl Nassib? NFL star comes out as 1st openly gay active player, gives Trevor Project $100K
Carl Nassib of the Las Vegas Raiders flexes during warmups before a game against the Denver Broncos on November 15, 2020, in Las Vegas, Nevada (Photo by Ethan Miller/Getty Images)

Professional footballer Carl Nassib came out as gay in an Instagram post. The defensive end for the Las Vegas Raiders of the National Football League said in the post on Monday, June 21, “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,” the post added.


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Who is Carl Nassib?

The 28-year-old athlete previously played for both the Cleveland Browns and Tampa Bay Buccaneers before signing with the Las Vegas Raiders in 2020. With the Raiders, Nassib is reportedly on a three-year, $25 million contract. He's recorded 20.5 sacks in his career. 

A native of Pennsylvania, Nassib enrolled at Pennsylvania State University and made the Penn State Nittany Lions football team as a walk-on in 2011. Nassib was selected by the Cleveland Browns in the third round of the 2016 NFL draft.

“I truly love my life and cannot understand why I have been blessed with so much,” he said in the Instagram post. “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 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.”

He further said that he was partnering with The Trevor Project. The nonprofit organization founded in 1998 focuses on suicide prevention efforts among lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, queer, and questioning youth. Nassib also announced that he was making a $100,000 donation to 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,” Nassib said. “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,” he said.

Finally, he added, “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.”

Roger Goodell, the commissioner of the National Football League, said in a statement: “The NFL family is proud of Carl for courageously sharing his truth today. 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.” The official Twitter account for the Raiders, sharing Nassib’s Instagram post, wrote, “Proud of you, Carl,” with a heart emoji. "Good for you Carl Nassib," former NFL safety Ryan Clark tweeted. "Live your truth brother."