Las Vegas Raiders defensive end Carl Nassib made history on Monday after coming out as the first active openly gay player in the NFL, announcing his sexual orientation in a post on social media.
The 28-year-old five-year veteran said in a video posted on Instagram he hoped his example would boost visibility of other gay athletes.
“I’ve been meaning to do this for a while now but finally feel comfortable getting it off my chest. I really have the best life, the best family, friends and job a guy can ask for.
“I actually hope that one day, videos like this and the whole coming out process are not necessary, but until then I will do my best and my part to cultivate a culture that’s accepting and compassionate.”
In a written post which accompanied the statement, Nassib said he had “agonized over this moment for the last 15 years.”
“I would not have been able to do this without them,” he said.
Nassib is the first player on an active roster to come out as gay in the NFL.
In 2014, college player Michael Sam was drafted by the St. Louis Rams after coming out as gay but was released after playing in a handful of pre-season games and never played a regular season game in the league.
“Proud of you Carl,” the team wrote in a post accompanying Nassib’s Instagram statement.
“The NFL family is proud of Carl for courageously sharing his truth today,” Goodell said.
“We wish Carl the best of luck this coming season.”
“Bravo Carl Nassib — thank you for inviting us in,” Davis wrote on Twitter.
“Very proud of Carl Nassib!” Collins wrote on Twitter. “Incredibly happy for him and can’t wait to watch him play this upcoming season.”