Raiders defensive end Carl Nassib became the first active NFL player to come out as gay on Monday night.
Nassib made the announcement on Instagram and also said that he would donate $100,000 to The Trevor Project, an organization focused on suicide prevention efforts in the LGBTQ+ community.
News of Nassib’s announcement spread quickly across the NFL and was swiftly met with positive messages from players, teams and executives. That included some heartfelt comments from Raiders owner Mark Davis.
“It’s 2021,” Davis said, per ESPN’s Paul Gutierrez. “All the more power to Carl. It doesn’t change my opinion of him as a person or as a Raider.”
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The NFL also released an official statement saying they were “proud” of him.
“The NFL family is proud of Carl for courageously sharing his truth today,” the statement read. “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.”
Here are some of the other Twitter messages that came in support of Nassib, including posts from the Raiders, NFL and Nassib’s former college teammate, Saquon Barkley.
Congrats to Carl Nassib on coming out that’s a big step, I think that most players are concerned if you can play or not.
— Shawne Merriman (@shawnemerriman) June 21, 2021
Carl Nassib’s announcement on his IG page included this note which was particularly compelling, especially for those who may meet this news with “what’s the big deal/why does it matter?” pic.twitter.com/o1lQLoSqSa
— Mike Golic Jr (@mikegolicjr) June 21, 2021
Anyone who thinks this wouldn’t have happened in the NFL’s olden days should probably Google Harold Lombardi. Vince’s brother, who was gay, and Vince Lombardi told his players more than once that if he heard any homophobic slurs from them, they’d be outta there.
— Doug Farrar (@NFL_DougFarrar) June 21, 2021
Big ups to Carl Nassib. That’s gotta be tough. Holding something in like that for so long.
— Crocky⚡️ (@eric_crocker) June 21, 2021
Good for you Carl Nassib!! Live your truth brother.
— Ryan Clark (@Realrclark25) June 21, 2021
That said, at least one player doesn’t want people to forget about Michael Sam, another trailblazer at the NFL level.
Michael Sam don’t let Carl Nassib steal your shine you was here first
— Charles James II (@CJDeuce_) June 21, 2021
Sam came out as gay ahead of the 2014 NFL Draft and was selected in the seventh round by the Rams. However, he didn’t make the team’s 53-man roster as a rookie, so he was never on an active NFL roster.