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By know you have probably heard of read that Carl Nassib went public this week on Instagram to announce he was gay.  What makes this headline news is that Nassib is a pro football player with the Las Vegas Raiders and becomes the first active NFL player to come out.  The 6’7, 275 pound defensive end is entering his second year with the team after previously playing for the Browns and Buccaneers.

The 28-year old Nassib used Pride Month to make the announcement and said he was doing it not for attention but for representation and visibility.  He went on to add that he truly hopes that one day videos like his and the need to come out are not headline news and truly unnecessary.  I would like to believe most people feel the same way.

Football is a violent sport and we’ve probably heard a million times played by “manly men” which for years made it nearly impossible for someone who is gay to admit it and expect to remain the locker room.  Nassib is not the first to do so but would be the first active gay person to play in the NFL when the Raiders open the regular season on Monday, September 13th in Las Vegas.

You might remember Michael Sam, who was a standout player at the University of Missouri had already come out when he was drafted by the St Louis Rams in 2014.  Sam appeared in a couple of pre-season games but was cut before the regular season began and was out of football the following year.  Before that there were about a dozen players who came out as gay but they did so after their careers had ended.

Nassib, who was an All-American at Penn State, also announced he would start making an impact by donating $100,000 to the Trevor Project which aims to prevent suicide among LGBTQ youth.  Clearly he has strong support from family and friends as well as the public because over the last two days his #94 Raiders jersey has been the top selling one in the NFL across the Fanatics network.  That in itself is a step in the right direction.

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