On a June afternoon in the offseason, Carl Nassib has made NFL history as the first active player to come out as gay.
The Raiders defensive lineman, a league veteran of five years, made the announcement on Monday via Instagram.
"What's up people," Nassib posted on Instagram. "I'm at my house in West Chester, Pennsylvania. I just wanted to take a quick moment to say that I'm gay. 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'm a pretty private person so I hope you guys know that I'm not doing this for attention. I just think that representation and visibility are so important. 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 and I'm going to start by donating $100,000 to the Trevor Project. They're an incredible organization, they're the number one suicide-prevention service for LGBTQ youth in America."
NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell later issued the following statement in support of Nassib's announcement.
"The NFL family is proud of Carl for courageously sharing his truth today," Goodell wrote. "Representation matters. We share his hope that someday soon statements like his will no longer be newsworthy as we march toward full equality for the LGBTQ+ community. We wish Carl the best of luck this coming season."
June is LGBT Pride Month and Nassib has made a monumental statement amidst it. Following his initial statement, Nassib left a longer message, explaining how long it took for him to come to the decision to make his announcement and in regard to helping in the battle of decreasing suicide within the LGBTQ community:
"Hey everyone, happy Pride Month. Right now, I am sitting in a moment of gratitude and relief. Sadly, I have agonized over this moment for the last 15 years. Only until recently, thanks to my family and friends, especially Conor, Cason and Francis, did it seem possible for me to say publicly and proudly that I'm gay. I am also incredibly thankful for the NFL, my coaches and fellow players for their support. I would not have been able to do this without them. From the jump, I was greeted with the utmost respect and acceptance.
"I truly love my life and cannot understand why I have been blessed with so much. I feel especially thankful to have had so much support when many who came before -- and many even now -- do not. I stand on the shoulders of giants, incredible people who paved the way for me to have this opportunity. I do not know all the history behind our courageous LGBTQ community but I am eager to learn and to help continue the fight for quality and acceptance.
"As I mentioned in my video message, I am partnering with The Trevor Project when I learned about their mission to provide suicide prevention services to the LGBTQ community. Young LGBTQ kids are over 5x more likely than their straight friends to consider suicide. For someone like me, who has been so lucky and cherishes every day, it brings me incredible sadness to think that out LGBTQ youth are at such an elevated risk for suicide. I feel an immense responsibility to help in any way I can -- and you can too. Studies have shown that all it takes is one accepting adult to decrease the risk of an LGBTQ kid attempting suicide by 40%. Whether you're a friend, a parent, a coach or a teammate -- you can be that person.
"Lastly, I hope everyone can understand that I am just one person. I am a lanky walk-on who is living his dream. I only have a small window to achieve greatness in my sport and I owe it to my team, coaches and Raider fans to be completely locked in and at my best for the upcoming season. I'm a private person, so I'd ask the media to give me some space as I navigate this exciting time in my life. Please do not take it personally if I decline an interview or am unable to answer your questions. Thank you everyone for your support."
The 28-year-old Nassib has played five NFL seasons, starting with the Browns, who took him in the third round of the 2016 NFL Draft, for two seasons, then the Buccaneers for two more and last year played with the Raiders, starting five games.
Nassib coming out occurs more than seven years after Michael Sam was selected by the Rams and became the first openly gay player to be drafted. Before Sam and since, NFL players have come out after their playing days, but none during them. That all changed on Monday.
Nassib's announcement will go down as a historical one in the NFL and the world of sports, along with being a step forward in a path toward equality.