Even though the 2021 season is right around the corner, Carl Nassib managed to dominate headlines when he came out as gay on Monday.
Nassib became the first active NFL player to openly identify as gay, announcing on his Instagram account. In the same post, the Las Vegas Raider also announced that he is donating $100,000 to The Trevor Project. a non-profit organization that focuses on suicide prevention in the LGBTQ+ community.
According to ESPN, Nassib’s jersey has been the top-selling one online:
Fanatics, the NFL’s official e-commerce partner, said Nassib has had the top-selling NFL jersey Monday and Tuesday across the company’s network of online stores.
Nassib explained that he finally felt the time was right to come out and cited representation and visibility as additional reasons behind the news:
Nassib, 28, made the announcement Monday in a video posted to Instagram from his house in West Chester, Pennsylvania. In the video, Nassib says, “I just want 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. I really have the best life, I’ve got 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.”
Nassib received an outpouring of support from both the Raiders and NFL and several prominent figures like Billie Jean King and President Joe Biden. In addition, his announcement comes in the middle of Pride Month and marks a historic moment for the NFL and its fans.
It is encouraging to see Nassib’s news received so well, and it is another step toward destigmatizing being an LGBTQ athlete.