Carl Nassib of Las Vegas Raiders is first active NFL player to announce he is gay

Carl Nassib
Ethan Miller/Getty Images/FILE

Carl Nassib, a defensive lineman with the Las Vegas Raiders, became the first active NFL player in league history to announce that he is gay.

“What’s up, people,” Nassib said Monday in a video on Instagram. “I’m Carl Nassib. I’m at my house here in Westchester, Pennsylvania. 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 enough to get it off my chest.”

Nassib, 28, has played five years with three teams and is entering his second season with the Raiders. He said in a statement accompanying the video that he had agonized over the decision to announce he was gay for 15 years.

He added that he was a private person and wasn’t seeking publicity.

“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.”

Nassib was drafted by the Cleveland Browns in the third round of the 2016 NFL draft. He played for the Browns from 2016-2017, the Tampa Bay Buccaneers in 2018 and 2019 and was signed by the Raiders as an unrestricted free agent on March 23, 2020.

Michael Sam came out before 2014 draft

In 2014, Michael Sam made became the first openly gay player to be selected in the NFL draft when the St. Louis Rams chose him in the seventh round as the 249th overall pick. The Rams cut Sam just before the season started.

Sam signed with the Dallas Cowboys practice squad but never was on the active roster. He was cut after six weeks.

In 2015, he appeared in one game with the Montreal Alouettes of the Canadian Football League before leaving the team.