LAS VEGAS (CBS SF) – Carl Nassib, a defensive lineman for the Las Vegas Raiders, became the first active NFL player in league's 100-plus year history to come out as gay.
"Just wanted to take a quick moment to say that I'm gay. I've been meaning to do this for a while now, but I finally feel comfortable enough to get it off my chest," Nassib said in an Instagram video posted Monday. "I really have the best life. I have the best family, friends and job a guy could ask for. I'm a pretty private person, so I hope you guys know that I'm really not doing this for attention. I just think that representation and visibility are so important."
"I actually hope that one day that 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," he went on to say.
Nassib also announced that he plans to donate $100,000 to the Trevor Project, a suicide prevention group for LGBTQ youth.
In an accompanying written statement, Nassib said he has agonized about making an announcement for over a decade.
"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 Conor, 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," Nassib said.
Following the announcement, the Raiders tweeted simply, "Proud of you, Carl."
NFL commissioner Roger Goodell also voiced his support.
"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."
"The importance of this visibility can't be understated. Particularly in what we know is a very masculine centered type of environment and to acknowledge that this story could be anybody's story," said Fred Lopez, Executive Director of SF Pride, "I think we're seeing a shift in the sports world."
The defensive lineman was drafted by the Cleveland Browns in 2016. Nassib played for the Browns and Buccaneers before joining the Raiders last season.
Nassib's announcement comes seven years after Michael Sam became the first openly gay football player selected in the NFL Draft. Sam, who was drafted by the Rams in 2014, was cut that preseason. He was also part of the Dallas Cowboys practice squad and played briefly in the Canadian Football League.
Andria Borba contributed to this report.
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