Every year Pride Month is celebrated and new voices tell the world what they are finally prepared to share and who they are. 2021 has seen a historical declaration of self acceptance, as Las Vegas Raiders defensive lineman Carl Nassib announced that he is gay in an Instagram post. Nassib is the first active NFL player to come out.
“I’ve been meaning to do this for a while now, but I finally feel comfortable enough to get it off my chest… I just think representation and visibility are so important, I actually hope that one day videos like this and the whole coming out process are just not necessary,” Nassib said.
Nassib also posted a note that reads, “Sadly, I have agonized over this moment for the last 15 years” and that only at his friends’ and family’s encouragement did he feel confident enough to come out as gay.
Nassib also announced that he would be donating $100,000 to The Trevor Project, a non profit organization that is focused on suicide prevention among LGBTQ+ youth.
Nassib received an outpour of support, perhaps most notably from the NFL who on their Instagram page not only showed support for Nassib but also announced that they would be matching his donation to The Trevor Project.
While it may not have been his intention, Nassib is setting the groundwork for future sportsmen to be able to embrace and present their true authentic selves.
There is no telling what may happen when Nassib re-enters a locker room or football field, it is only possible to wish him the best.
Despite the levels of uncertainty one can only assume Nassib is feeling, he must know that his announcement can only encourage any other men in the NFL who are struggling with their sexuality or identity.
Or any young boys who are playing football at a park and know that there is something about them that sets them apart from their peers.
In a one minute video Carl Nassib comforted those boys and men.
In a one minute video Nassib made history.