Las Vegas Raiders defensive lineman Carl Nassib became the first active player in league history to come out as gay in June.
In a recent interview on “Comeback Stories” with Darren Waller and Donny Starkins, Nassib said he was concerned that coming out would ruin his NFL career.
Carl Nassib of the Las Vegas Raiders flexes during warmups before a game against the Denver Broncos at Allegiant Stadium on Nov. 15, 2020 in Las Vegas. The Raiders defeated the Broncos 37-12. (Photo by Ethan Miller/Getty Images) (Getty)
“I thought about it every once in a while. Thought about how I wanted to do it. When I could do it,” Nassib said on the show. “I didn’t know how people would react. I wanted to make sure I was financially stable before I did it. I didn’t know if it would ruin my career. I didn’t know if guys would be supportive or not.”
Nassib said that he realized he was gay four years ago, and he didn’t want to come out right away because he was more focused on his career and establishing himself in the league. Nassib felt like it was his responsibility to come out and make it sociably acceptable in the locker room.
Las Vegas Raiders defensive end Carl Nassib leaves the field after a game against the Atlanta Falcons in Atlanta. Nassib became the first active NFL player to come out as gay. (AP Photo/John Bazemore, File)
“When I decided to come out, it was not easy,” Nassib said. “Personally, for my life, I didn’t want to do it. But I felt a huge obligation to my community, to all the young kids out there who are struggling with their sexuality. If I could help just a few of them out, then I could sleep better at night.”
Las Vegas Raiders defensive end Carl Nassib before a game against the Miami Dolphins at Allegiant Stadium. (Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports)
Before Nassib, no openly gay or bisexual player had previously played a regular-season down in the NFL. Michael Sam was openly gay when drafted out of the University of Missouri in 2014. But Sam never made a roster spot in the league.