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Free-agent defensive end Carl Nassib knew he could potentially affect a level of change when he announced last summer he is gay.
“I stared at the phone for like an hour, just looking at it and trying to hype myself up,” he said of the moments leading up to his announcement on social media in an interview on Good Morning America. “The last thing I said was, ‘You know what, for the kids.'”
Good Morning America @GMA
“I just wanted to show that … it really doesn’t matter your sexual orientation.” — NFL star Carl Nassib to @michaelstrahan on his decision to come out and his message to kids.
Watch the full interview here: https://t.co/JW2Wd4FLDI pic.twitter.com/qhLYgZoAat
Nassib explained to GMA‘s Michael Strahan he told close friends and family members years ago he is gay. He thought it was important to “stay ahead of the narrative” and “own the story” by coming out in public.
The 29-year-old said he received “the most incredible support” from his Raiders teammates in the wake of his message.
In June, Nassib continued his advocacy by partnering with The Trevor Project and matching donations up to $100,000.
Carl Nassib is celebrating #Pride2022 by partnering with the @TrevorProject and matching all donations up to $100K. ❤️
Contributions will help provide mental health resources and suicide prevention efforts among LGBTQ+ youth. Donate now at https://t.co/QgGUzp1XwZ pic.twitter.com/rCbpMiIOqu
Nassib became the first publicly out active player in the NFL. Michael Sam came out in 2014 prior to the NFL draft and was selected by the St. Louis Rams in the seventh round. Sam didn’t appear in a regular-season game with the Rams or Dallas Cowboys, though.
Brian Hosier, the chief operating officer for The LGBTQ Center of Southern Nevada, told The Athletic’s Lindsay Jones that Nassib was already making a big impact.
“It’s very inspirational to a lot of our LGBTQIA+ youth, and there was a lot of discussion around it,” Hosier said. “We were very proud it was here in our city. I think it goes a long way to come out, express who you are and live your authentic life, which is part of our mission, to give folks the tools to live their authentic lives, whatever that looks like.”
Nassib made 13 appearances for the Raiders in 2021, finishing with 21 tackles and 1.5 sacks. Las Vegas released him in March in what was largely a salary-cap maneuver, and he remains unsigned.