WEST CHESTER, Pa. - West Chester native, Carl Nassib, makes history as the first, active NFL player to announce he’s gay.
He says he did it because representation is important.
The defensive end, who currently plays for the Las Vegas Raiders, played football for Malvern Prep.
Carl Nassib earns $25 million as a defensive end in the brutal game of professional football. The 28-year-old graduate of Malvern prep, a walk-on and, later, a stand-out on the Penn State football team, has done something no active NFL player has ever done.
"What’s up people? I’m Carl Nassib. I’m at my house, here, in West Chester, Pennsylvania. I just want to take a quick moment to say that I’m gay," Nassib stated, on his Instagram account Monday.
In the post, Nassib seemed to imply a sense of relief and spoke of his great life.
"I finally feel comfortable enough to get it off my chest. I really have the best life, best family, friends and job a guy could ask for," he added.
The Board of Trustees of Malvern Prep, a Catholic Augustinian School, wrote:
"Our community has reacted with enormous pride, positivity, love and support for our Friar Brother, who has shown courage in sharing his truth."
James Franklin, Penn State’s head football coach, added his voice, writing:
"Carl’s brave announcement will forge a path for others to be true to their authentic self. I was proud of Carl when he led the nation in sacks, but I am even more proud of him now."
Observers believe Nassib’s coming out will allow others in the world of professional sports to summon the courage to do the same.
Nassib is pledging $100,000 to the Trevor Project, a group which works to prevent suicide in LGBTQ youth. And, he is speaking his truth.
"I just think that representation and visibility are so important. I hope videos and the whole coming out process are soon not necessary," Nassib stated.
Franklin said he and his wife Fumi were inspired by Nassib's announcement to donate $10,000 to the Trevor Project.
Nassib's announcement also was greeted by Brian Burke, president of the NHL's Pittsburgh Penguins. Burke has been a major proponent of LGBTQ rights for more than a decade since his late son Brendan came out as gay.
"Proud to support Carl and his decision to come out as the first active gay player in the NFL," Burke said. "I hope other sports executives will join me in publicly expressing their support as well."
Statement from Malvern Prep:
"Malvern Preparatory School and its Board of Trustees commend alumnus Carl Nassib ’11 on his recent announcement as being the first openly gay active NFL player. Our community has reacted with enormous pride, positivity, love, and support for our Friar Brother who has shown courage in sharing his truth.
During his days at Malvern, Carl displayed exceptional leadership and selflessness as captain of both the basketball and football teams. He was a MECO Retreat Leader during his senior year, a position that is the result of a nomination and selection process.
After graduating from Malvern Prep, Carl continued to make Malvern proud during his time at Penn State and with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, where he was voted Team Captain by his teammates in 2019. Malvern has been fortunate that Carl has generously given his time to our school by returning to meet with our students over the years.
Yesterday’s announcement is a gift to our community - including to our current students and alumni - that will undoubtedly do much good. Thank you, Carl, for being true to yourself. Your self-knowledge is a reflection of a value Malvern holds dear as an Augustinian school."
"The NFL family is proud of Carl for courageously sharing his truth today," NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell said in a statement. "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."
Sarah Kate Ellis, president and CEO of GLAAD, a leading LGBTQ advocacy organization, called Nassib's "powerful coming out is a historic reflection of the growing state of LGBTQ visibility and inclusion in the world of professional sports, which has been driven by a long list of brave LGBTQ athletes who came before him."
In a post saying he was proud of Nassib, Hall of Famer Warren Moon said he played with several gay football players in a storied pro career that spanned from 1978 to 2000 but none were "comfortable enough to go public."
"They were great teammates, & obviously very talented. As long as they helped us win and were great teammates, their sexual preference was never a issue," Moon wrote. "We live in a different time now where diversity is much more accepted. Cheers Carl, and I hope this lets other athletes know, its OK to say who you are..."
Nassib is a sixth-year pro who was drafted by the Cleveland Browns in 2016 in the third round (65th overall) out of Penn State. He played two seasons for the Browns and two for Tampa Bay before joining the Raiders in 2020. He has 20 1/2 sacks in 73 career games. Nassib led the nation with 15 1/2 sacks in 2015, Franklin's second season in State College, and he was a cornerstone of the program's path back to contention.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.
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