Raiders’ defensive end Carl Nassib: I’m gay

The first active player who’s openly gay in NFL history. So far.

Maybe his announcement will shake loose a few more revelations.

I remember the Michael Sam saga in 2014, so different from what Nassib did today. Sam was already out when he was drafted; the prospect of an openly gay player on the field in an NFL game drew a congratulatory message from Barack Obama. Whether because of prejudice or because he just wasn’t very good, Sam never played a down in the league. He was cut by the Rams before the season opener that year, then briefly played on the Cowboys’ practice squad before landing in the Canadian Football League. The fanfare over his identity when he joined the Rams and the media scrutiny that followed the team afterward overshadowed his play. He was more famous than most of his teammates before he proved himself capable of competing. The whole episode felt sour when it was over.

Nassib, on the other hand, is a former Lombardi Award winner, third-round pick out of Penn State, and five-year veteran. He’s under contract with the Raiders for two more seasons. He belongs in the league, clearly. Instead of press conferences and camera crews for this announcement, his vibe is casual as can be. You get the sense that he was just puttering around the house and thought, “You know what I should do today?”, then went out to his backyard and fired off a video off the cuff. No hoopla about the groundbreaking nature of his announcement, just a dude posting to his Instagram. No big deal.

The Raiders are being supportive:

So is the league:

The only clue that there was any planning is the timing. It’s Gay Pride Month. Presumably Nassib wanted this out there before the end of June.

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