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Las Vegas Raiders' Carl Nassib first active NFL player to come out as gay

Las Vegas Raiders defensive end Carl Nassib (94), shown Oct. 11, 2020, also pledged $100,000 to the Trevor Project, which provides crisis intervention services to the LGBTQ+ community. File Photo by Kyle Rivas/UPI
Las Vegas Raiders defensive end Carl Nassib (94), shown Oct. 11, 2020, also pledged $100,000 to the Trevor Project, which provides crisis intervention services to the LGBTQ+ community. File Photo by Kyle Rivas/UPI | License Photo

June 21 (UPI) -- Las Vegas Raiders defensive lineman Carl Nassib on Monday became the first active NFL player in league history to come out as gay.

The 28-year-old Nassib made the announcement with a post on Instagram.

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"What's up, people?" Nassib said. "I'm at my house here in West Chester, Pennsylvania. I just want to take a quick moment to say that I'm gay. I've been meaning to do this for a while now, but I finally feel comfortable enough to get it off my chest. I really have the best life, I've got the best family, friends and job a guy could ask for.

"I'm a pretty private person so I hope you guys know that I'm really not doing this for attention. I just think representation and visibility are so important."

Nassib, who was selected by the Cleveland Browns in the third round of the 2016 draft out of Penn State, also pledged $100,000 to the Trevor Project, which provides crisis intervention services to the LGBTQ+ community.

"I actually hope that one day videos like this and the whole coming-out process are just not necessary. But until then, I'm going to do my best and do my part to cultivate a culture that's accepting, that's compassionate and I'm going to start by donating $100,000 to the Trevor Project.

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"They're an incredible organization, they're the No. 1 suicide-prevention service for LGBTQ youth in America, and they're truly doing incredible things. And I'm very excited to be a part of it, help in any way that I can and I'm really pumped to see what the future holds."

The Raiders organization responded to Nassib's Instagram post with a tweet that read: "Proud of you, Carl."

NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell issued a statement declaring that "the NFL family is proud of Carl for courageously sharing his truth today."

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"Representation matters," Goodell said. "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."

Nassib signed a three-year, $25 million contract with the Raiders in March 2020. He recorded 28 total tackles, 2 1/2 sacks, one interception and five passes defensed in 14 games for the Raiders last season, his first in Las Vegas.

Nassib spent his first two NFL seasons with the Browns before joining the Tampa Bay Buccaneers in 2018. He played two years for the Bucs, notching a career-best 6 1/2 sacks in the 2018 campaign.

Michael Sam, who played college football at Missouri, was the first openly gay player to be drafted in NFL history in 2014, when the then-St. Louis Rams picked him with the No. 249 overall selection. The team cut him at the end of training camp that year.

He later signed with the Dallas Cowboys practice squad but was ultimately cut and never played a regular-season game in the league.

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Ryan Russell, who spent time with the Cowboys and Buccaneers, came out as bisexual in 2019. He was a free agent at the time after playing three seasons between the Cowboys and Bucs.

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