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Las Vegas Raiders’ Carl Nassib comes out as NFL’s first openly gay active player

Click to play video: 'Carl Nassib comes out at as NFL’s first openly gay active player'
Carl Nassib comes out at as NFL’s first openly gay active player
WATCH: Professional football player Carl Nassib, a defensive end for the Las Vegas Raiders, has come out as gay. He's the first openly gay active football player in the NFL. As Eric Sorensen reports, Nassib is hoping speaking out will bring about a much-needed culture change for the league – Jun 22, 2021

Carl Nassib, defensive end for the Las Vegas Raiders, is the first openly gay active NFL player.

In a post on Instagram on Monday, Nassib said he has “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,” the post said.

Read more: ‘Be proud, be happy’: How parents can support a child coming out

Nassib, 28, thanked the NFL, his coaches and fellow players for their support.

“I would not have been able to do this without them,” he said. “From the jump, I was greeted with the utmost respect and acceptance.”

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Nassib said he does not know all the history behind “our courageous LGBTQ community,” but added that he is “eager to learn and to help continue the fight for equality and acceptance.”

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In a video, Nassib said representation and visibility is “so important,” and added that he has donated $100,000 to the Trevor Project, a suicide prevention organization for LGBTQ2 youth.

In a tweet Monday, the NFL showed its support saying the “family is proud” of Nassib.

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In a statement, NFL commissioner Roger Goodell said the league is “proud of Carl for courageously sharing his truth today.”

“Representation matters,” he wrote. “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.”

DeMaurice Smith, executive director of the NFL players association, said the union supports Nassib, adding that his work with the Trevor Project is “proof that he – like our membership – is about making his community and this world a better place not for themselves, but for others.”

The Raiders, too said they are “proud” of Nassib.

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Brian Burke, president of hockey operations Pittsburgh Penguins, tweeted saying he was “proud to support Carl and his decision to come out.”

“I hope other sports executives will join me in publicly expressing their support as well,” he wrote.

In a series of tweets Monday evening Sarah Kate Ellis, president and CEO of GLAAD, called Nassib’s “powerful coming out” a “historic reflection of the growing state of LGBTQ visibility and inclusion in the world of professional sports, which has been driven by a long list of brave LGBTQ athletes who came before him.”

Ellis said Nassib’s story will “not only have a profound impact on the future of LGBTQ visibility and acceptance in sports,” but also “sends a strong message to so many LGBTQ people, especially youth, that they too can one day grow up to be and succeed as a professional athlete like him.”

Nassib is entering his sixth NFL season.

Click to play video: 'Las Vegas Raiders’ Carl Nassib comes out as gay, becomes NFL’s first openly gay active player'
Las Vegas Raiders’ Carl Nassib comes out as gay, becomes NFL’s first openly gay active player

He was drafted in the third round in 2016 by the Cleveland Browns, where he spent two seasons.

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He then spent two seasons with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers before signing with the Raiders in March of 2020.

In 2014, defensive end Michael Sam came out as gay before the St. Louis Rams drafted him, but he did not make the final team roster.

More than a dozen NFL players have come out as gay after their careers were over.

-With files from Reuters and The Associated Press

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