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Carl Nassib's NFL jersey is top seller after he announces he's gay

Sales of Carl Nassib's jersey are jumping after the Las Vegas Raider this week became the first active player in the NFL to say that he's gay.

Nassib's No. 94 shirt was the top selling football jersey on Monday and Tuesday across all Fanatics-owned sports apparel websites, the company said, while declining to disclose specifics on sales. The jersey retailed for $120 at NFLShop.com. 

Elsewhere, the demand for Nassib's autographed rookie card, game-worn jersey and other sports memorabilia has soared this week as well, said Jordan Gilroy, acquisitions director for New Jersey auction company Lelands. The eagerness for buying a lesser-known NFL player's merchandise typically lasts a month at max, Gilroy said, but if Nassib plays at a high level this fall for the Raiders, the auction bidding for his jersey and other memorabilia could climb even higher.

"His demand right now is at an all-time high," Gilroy said. "A jersey of his, if it were to sell at an auction like ours, it could go for thousands upon thousands of dollars when it probably was worth, you know, mid-hundreds last week."

Don't be surprised if a Nassib game-worn jersey or helmet or even an autographed football appears on an auction site soon and sells for a record price, Gilroy added.

Making NFL history

Nassib made history by becoming the first openly gay active NFL player. The defensive end said in an Instagram video that he hoped that announcing his sexuality would increase tolerance for LGBQT people.

"I just think that representation and visibility are so important," he said. "I actually hope that, one day, videos like this and the whole coming out process are just not necessary, but until then I'm going to do my best and do my part to cultivate a culture that's accepting, that's compassionate."

In the video, Nassib, 28, also announced a $100,000 donation to the nonprofit Trevor Project for its work in LGBTQ+ suicide prevention.

Denver Broncos v Las Vegas Raiders
Carl Nassib of the Las Vegas Raiders during warmups before a home game against the Denver Broncos on November 15, 2020. Getty Images

In 2014, Michael Sam became the first openly gay player to be drafted by the NFL, but he was cut by the St. Louis Rams before ever playing a regular-season game. Other players have come out after retiring from the league.

Since November, the top-selling NFL jerseys have been for Lamar Jackson of the Baltimore Ravens, Patrick Mahomes of the Kansas City Chiefs and Dak Prescott of the Dallas Cowboys. It's unclear how those compare with recent purchases of Nassib's shirt.

President Biden applauded Nassib's coming out video in a tweet Tuesday, calling the player an inspiring athlete. He also cited Washington Spirit soccer star Kumi Yokoyama for her recent coming out.

"Because of you, countless kids around the world are seeing themselves in a new light today," Mr. Biden said. 

The NFL and many individual players also have expressed their support for Nassib since his announcement.

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