Sean Pendergast

Las Vegas Raider Carl Nassib Becomes First Openly Gay NFL Player

Carl Nassib made history this week, announcing that he is gay, making him the first active openly gay player in NFL history.
Carl Nassib made history this week, announcing that he is gay, making him the first active openly gay player in NFL history. Screen grab from YouTube
Earlier this week on Monday, Las Vegas Raiders defensive end Carl Nassib announced on Instagram that he is gay. This made Nassib the first openly gay ACTIVE NFL player, and while that is certainly momentous news, perhaps equally momentous and encouraging is the fact that the reaction was a wave of acceptance from inside the league and, as best I could tell, a complete absence of "How will he fit into the locker room now?" conjecture.

Here was Nassib's post on Instagram:
Here is the transcript of Nassib's message, which included a generous donation to the Trevor Project, a suicide prevention service that specifically assists the LGBTQ+ community:

"What's up people?" Nassib posted. "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 that representation and visibility are so important. I actually hope that like 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."
Reaction to Nassib's announcement was immediate throughout the NFL and the sports world, including the Raiders themselves and commissioner Roger Goodell:

Nassib joined the Raiders last season, signing a three-year, $25 million deal in free agency, after playing two seasons in Tampa Bay. Prior to that, he was a third round pick of the Cleveland Browns in 2016 out of Penn State, and may have been bets known for this segment of "Hard Knocks" in 2018, in which he gave financial advice to his teammates:

Football fans will probably remember Michael Sam, the former Missouri linebacker, who became the first openly gay player to be drafted in NFL history in 2014, when the Rams took him in the seventh round of the draft. However, he was cut by the Rams in training camp, and never played a down in the league.

Listen to Sean Pendergast on SportsRadio 610 from 6 a.m. to 10 a.m. weekdays. Also, follow him on Twitter at and like him on Facebook at
KEEP THE HOUSTON PRESS FREE... Since we started the Houston Press, it has been defined as the free, independent voice of Houston, and we'd like to keep it that way. With local media under siege, it's more important than ever for us to rally support behind funding our local journalism. You can help by participating in our "I Support" program, allowing us to keep offering readers access to our incisive coverage of local news, food and culture with no paywalls.
Sean Pendergast is a contributing freelance writer who covers Houston area sports daily in the News section, with periodic columns and features, as well. He also hosts the morning drive on SportsRadio 610, as well as the pre-game and post game shows for the Houston Texans.
Contact: Sean Pendergast