Well, it’s been a long time coming.
Ladies and gentlemen, the moment is here.
The NFL officially has its first active and openly-gay player.
He’s a defensive end. And his name is Carl Nassib.
Team of choice: Las Vegas Raiders.
Carl made the announcement Monday via Instagram.
He took “a quick moment” to let everyone know.
“What’s up, people?” he began in a video, noting he was “at [his] house…in West Chester, Pennsylvania.”
“Just wanna take a quick moment to say that I’m gay.”
It took a while to work up the gumption:
“I’ve been meaning to do this for a while now, but I finally feel comfortable enough to get it off my chest. I really have the best life — I’ve got the best family, friends and job a guy could ask for.”
Carl said he’s not coming out for the acclaim:
“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, like, one day videos like this and the whole coming out process are just not necessary. But until then, you know, I’m gonna do my best and do my part to cultivate a culture that’s accepting, that’s compassionate.”
And more than that, he’s forking over a colossal amount of cash:
“[I]’m gonna start by donating $100,000 to the Trevor Project. They’re an incredible organization. They’re the number one suicide prevention service for LGBTQ youth in America. And they’re truly doing incredible things. And I’m very excited to be a part of it, to help any way that I can, and I’m really pumped to see what the future holds.”
“That’s all I have for you guys,” he concluded. “I hope you have a great day. Work hard.”
“I 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 getting it off my chest.”
Raiders DL Carl Nassib shared this video to social media and became the first active NFL player to announce he is gay. pic.twitter.com/gGXbZEP3R7
— SportsCenter (@SportsCenter) June 21, 2021
In a separate statement, the athlete said he’d “agonized over this moment for the last 15 years.”
Furthermore, he thanked “the NFL, [his] coaches, and fellow players for their support.”
“From the jump,” he assured, [he] was “greeted with the utmost respect and acceptance.”
“I stand on the shoulders of giants, incredible people who paved the way for me to have this opportunity. … 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.”
“Thank you, everyone, for your support. Happy Pride Month, and Go Raiders.”
Here’s the message from Raiders DE Carl Nassib announcing publicly today, during Pride Month, that he is gay pic.twitter.com/1VA2XSfL5F
— Jonathan Jones (@jjones9) June 21, 2021
Social media response ran the gamut. A few select tweets:
“Congrats on coming out.”
“He wasn’t the first player. It’s been a number of them. Why does this have to be a announcement? Just live your life. Anytime I see anyone announce this instead of just being you seems staged.”
“It’s visibility. Some teenager that thinks they are a freak is thinking about suicide because they are gay right now. Him being a famous athlete and coming out normalizes homosexuality, makes them feel less alone.”
“As a Raider fan, I’m done with this kind of behavior.”
“This is great… hopefully one day it just will not NEED an ‘announcement.’ Crossed fingersLet us not forget the trailblazers before him as well…”
Of course, sports these days isn’t the same institution of yore.
This year, it appears, across athletics and elsewhere, organizations are championing LGBTQ Pride as never before.
Anecdotally, I ordered a pizza last week. When I went to open the box, I found a Pride sticker on top.
Kellogg’s is in on the action:
— Blacklisted News (@BlacklistedNews) May 25, 2021
But it wasn’t the first cereal to celebrate:
— AdFreak (@AdFreak) June 9, 2014
In sports specifically, the San Francisco Giants recently became the first Major League Baseball team to wear Gay Pride uniforms:
A look at the San Francisco Giants' Pride uniforms.
— The Athletic (@TheAthletic) June 5, 2021
Surely some team in football will follow. Maybe the Las Vegas Raiders.
As for the concept of an out-and-proud LGBT player in the National Football League, how long will Carl be the only one?
The culture’s changing, sports is changing, and sexuality is definitely changing…
Nebraska Eyes Teaching Kindergarteners Gender Identity While Eleven-Year-Olds Study Pansexuality and Demigenderism https://t.co/G4oPAuDZlF
— RedState (@RedState) March 24, 2021
We may soon see another.
If not gay or trans, perhaps nonbinary.
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