YES. It’s happened. The first openly gay NFL player has played a game. Carl Nassib of the Las Vegas Raiders. The former Alabama linebacker was recently picked in the second round of the NFL draft by the Oakland Raiders. The pick made him the first active openly gay NFL player and pushed open the door for more LGBT athletes to come out in the future.
Nassib is the latest in a string of openly gay players in the NFL. The first openly gay player, Michael Sam, was drafted by the St. Louis Rams in 2014. Before that, the first active openly gay player was Chris Kluwe.
In a historic first, Carl Nassib of the Las Vegas Raiders became the first openly gay active NFL player, according to The Los Angeles Times.Over the years, people of all races, creeds and colors have been the first to achieve something in the North American professional sport. We’ve seen it, from Jackie Robinson breaking the color barrier in baseball in 1947 to Robert Saleh of the New York Jets becoming the first Muslim head coach in NFL history. Carl Nassib of the Las Vegas Raiders has now joined that group of honorees.
Nassib announced on Instagram that he is gay. When the former Penn State star takes his place on the Raiders’ defensive line in September, he will be the first openly gay man among active NFL players.
Carl Nassib | Photo : Chris Unger/Getty Images
Nassib is a quarterback entering his sixth season in the NFL. A native of West Chester, Pennsylvania, he played college football at Penn State. In his senior season, Nassib threw 46 interceptions, 19.5 interceptions and 15.5 sacks. Those stats caught the attention of NFL scouts, and the Cleveland Browns selected him with the #65 pick in the third round of the 2015 NFL Draft.
After playing two years in Cleveland as a rotational player, Nassib signed with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers in 2018. In two seasons in Tampa Bay, he started 17 games and made 12.5 sacks. The Las Vegas Raiders rewarded Nassib with a three-year, $25.2 million free agent contract for the 2020 season.
The 28-year-old started five of the Raiders’ 14 games last season. He only got 2.5 sacks, but added nine QB hits and 28 interceptions and notched his first interception of his career.
Monday the 21st. In June, Nassib posted a short video on Instagram announcing that he was gay:
Howdy, boys. I’m Carl Nassib. I’m home in West Chester, PA. I just wanted to say that I’m gay. I’ve been wanting to do this for a long time, but I finally feel comfortable enough to say everything.
After a brief announcement, he explained that he is calm enough to do this now because he loves his life, family, friends and work. He also made it clear that the moment was not meant to attract attention.
I just think that representation and visibility are very important, Nassib explained his decision to go public. I really hope that one day videos like this and the whole coming out process will no longer be necessary. But until then, I will do my best and help build a culture of acceptance and compassion.
In addition to this personal news, Mr. Nassib also announced that he would be donating $100,000 to the Trevor Project. This nonprofit is the first suicide prevention organization for LGBTQ youth in America.
Robbie Rogers, Jason Collins, John Amaechi, Esera Tuaolo. Do you remember her? These were gay athletes in major professional men’s sports. Most have come out of retirement. Carl Nassib is the first to do so & at the height of his career in America’s most popular sport.
Catchy? Maybe. Influential? Absolutely,
– Tom Harrington (@cbctom) June 22, 2021
Nassib may be the first active NFL player to be openly gay, but he is far from the first or only openly gay athlete. USWNT star Megan Rapinoe and WNBA legend Sue Bird are perhaps the most famous couple in sports today.
In recent years, more and more male athletes have become openly gay. Openly gay athletes are becoming more common in individual sports. For example, skier Gus Kenworthy, jumper Tom Daly, runner Tom Bosworth, and figure skaters Adam Rippon and Johnny Weir have all openly confessed during their careers.
In team sports, fewer players talk openly about their sexuality. However, former Cleveland Cavaliers, Orlando Magic and Utah Jazz center John Ameci is out after the end of his playing career. Additionally, Jason Collins became the first active gay NBA player to come out of the closet in 2013, for the final year of his career.
In the NFL, several players have already been released at the end of their careers, including former New England Patriots and Kansas City Chiefs second-round pick Ryan Callaghan and five-time second-team veteran Esera Tuaolo.
Michael Sam, the University of Missouri prospect, talked about himself in the 2014 NFL Draft. The St. Louis Rams selected Sam at No. 247 in the seventh round. He played in several preseason games for the Rams and was on the practice squad of the Dallas Cowboys, but never played in an official NFL game.
Nassib’s statement and his soon to be history-making season will hopefully allow more athletes to feel comfortable playing authentically in the future.
All statistics are taken from Pro Football Reference and Sports Reference. All contract data is provided by Spotrac
MESSAGE: Steelers 1. Najee Harris, selected in the first round of the NFL draft, announced that Megan Rapinoe is my dog.At one point in his career, Carl Nassib was projected by some to be a first-round pick in the 2016 NFL Draft. Instead, he was on the board in the fifth round, selected by the Philadelphia Eagles. It was a bit of a surprise for the local media, since Nassib was an accomplished Division I quarterback at Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute. In fact, Nassib played at a high level in every facet of football at RPI, and was named the MVP of the 2014 NCAA FCS national championship game.. Read more about carl nassib stats and let us know what you think.
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