Former Penn State football star defensive end Carl Nassib made history on Monday as he became the first active NFL player to come out as gay.
Nassib, who currently plays for the Las Vegas Raiders, went public with the news via his Instagram account. Along with his announcement, he will donate $100,000 to The Trevor Project, a suicide prevention organization for LGBTQA+ youth.
“I just wanted to take a quick moment to say that I’m gay,” Nassib said. “I’ve been meaning to do this for a while now, but I finally feel comfortable enough to get it off my chest…I hope you guys know I’m really not doing this for attention. I just think that representation and visibility are so important.
“I hope one day that videos like this and the whole coming out process are just not necessary. But until then, I will do my best and my part to cultivate a culture that’s accepting and compassionate.”
Nassib’s announcement comes in the final days of Pride Month celebrating and supporting the LGBTQA+ community.
“I am very proud of Carl for his courage and voice,” Penn State coach James Franklin said in a statement on Monday night. “This announcement doesn’t surprise me because if you know Carl, you know his strength. Carl’s story continues to add chapters which will have an impact well beyond the field of play. His care and love for those around him, particularly those in need, has always been obvious. His generosity and advocacy for The Trevor Project is yet another shining example of his huge heart. He has inspired Fumi and I to donate $10,000 to The Trevor Project as well.”
“Carl’s brave announcement will forge a path for others to be true to their authentic self. I was proud of Carl when he led the nation in sacks, but I’m even more proud of him now.”
Now entering his sixth season of professional football, Nassib was drafted by the Cleveland Browns in the third round of the 2016 NFL Draft. He spent two seasons in Cleveland, two with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, and just finished up his first campaign with the Las Vegas Raiders. Nassib has totaled 20.5 career sacks in the NFL so far.
The West Chester native is a defensive legend for the Nittany Lions and is widely considered one of the top walk-on players to ever don the blue and white. He set the single-season sack record in 2015 with 15.5 and forced six fumbles that season.
Former Missouri defensive end Michael Sam made history by coming out as gay before he was picked by the in the 2014 NFL Draft. Sam was cut before the regular season, making Nassib the first active NFL player to come out.