A top NFL player has made a donation to a group that supports LGBT youth after coming out as gay. The Las Vegas Raiders’ Carl Nassib became the first active athlete in the U.S. National Footbal League (NFL) to come out as gay in a recent Instagram posting.
“I just wanted to take a quick moment to say that I’m gay,” he said. “I’ve been meaning to do this for a while now but 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 can ask for.”
Nassib, who is 28 years old, has had a productive career as defensive end for the Cleveland Browns, Tampa Bay Buccaneers and Las Vegas Raiders. Michael Sam was the first openly gay NFL football player to be drafted but never played a regular season game. Sam ultimately retired from the sport in 2015 due to the toll on his mental health in the year after he came out, according to The Washington Post.
Nassib accompanied the announcement with a donation to the Trevor Project, a suicide prevention and intervention group that supports LBGTQ+ youth. Nassib thanked his coaches and fellow players for their support in the posting.
“I just think that representation and visibility are so important,” he said. “I actually hope that one day that videos like this and the whole coming out process are just not necessary.”
Athletes double as running and jumping marketing tools, spokespeople and brand managers. They are asked to be a lot of things, and deliver very public commentary at a young age completely unrelated to their job. And they are paid well for it.
That said, it is encouraging to see someone just be himself and get on with it.