Las Vegas Raiders defensive lineman Carl Nassib became the first openly gay active NFL player earlier this offseason. Talking to the media for the first time during training camp, the 28-year-old said he was amazed by the support from teammates and around the league.
"I was definitely surprised by the big reaction," Nassib said Friday. "It was incredible. I thought nobody would care. But it was such a good feeling to have all the support. I was glad I could do my part to help bring visibility and representation to my community."
Nassib's announcement during LGBT Pride Month was met with praise and support from every level of the NFL community, from NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell to active and retired players across the landscape.
Nassib said he didn't share his story with many people before the big June announcement.
"Very few. Friends around the league knew," he said. "I went to the coaches, made sure that they ... I wanted to give them a chance to kind of digest, help me in the process. Then I went home, felt like I wanted to be around family and friends at home to make the announcement."
Within the Raiders locker room, Nassib has found a support system. Quarterback Derek Carr noted during camp that no one in the locker room "has treated him any different."
"He may have a different story; I don't know. I don't know what his story is," Carr said, via ESPN. "But from my point of view -- his locker is just a few down from mine -- and I just want to make sure that he knows that, man, we just want him to play as hard as he can so we can win a Super Bowl. That's what we're here to do."
Nassib said the reaction he's received in the locker room has been boundless.
"It's been great. I knew it was gonna be good," he said. "I had zero stress about that. Absolutely no worries about it. I've got a great locker room, great teammates. I've been met with nothing but love and support. It's been incredible, yeah. Football players get a bad rap, but we're humble, hard-working, accepting people, and this was a great example of that definitely."
When making his announcement, Nassib said he did so in part to help others, noting that studies show one accepting adult can decrease the risk of an LGBTQ kid attempting suicide by 40%. He also donated $100,000 to The Trevor Project, an organization centered on crisis and suicide prevention efforts among lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, queer, and questioning youth -- a donation matched by the NFL.
Nassib was asked Friday if he feels his coming out has helped others.
"I hope. I mean, I hope I've helped people," he replied. "That's why you go through life, to try to help people as much as you can. I hope, that'd be awesome."