ORLANDO, Fla. – A professional football player has come out as gay and is taking a stance by donating money to an LGBTQ organization focused on preventing teen suicides.
Carl Nassib is a defensive end for the Las Vegas Raiders and in a video statement, he announced he was gay.
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“I just want to take a quick moment to say that I’m gay, I’ve been meaning to do this for awhile now but I finally feel comfortable enough to get it off my chest,” Nassib said in the video on Monday.
It’s caused many in Orlando’s LGBTQ leadership to applaud Nassib for his bravery in coming out. Many see this as an opportunity for a positive role model to make a difference on and off the field.
”Young kids that identify as LGBTQ can now have a role model in professional sports,” George Wallace with the LGBTQ Center Orlando said.
With the video announcement, Nassib becomes the first active NFL player to come out as gay.
Support has come in from others such as former Magic star John Amaechi, who became the first NBA player to come out in 2007.
“There are children in America with more light and hope today because of this man. I’m grateful for his willingness to share himself with strangers,” Amaechi tweeted.
Nassib said it’s been a long journey getting to this point
“The coming out process is always personal and is different for everyone… it speaks volumes because visibility is so, so very important,” Wallace said.
The Orlando Magic reacted to the news as well.
“Sports has the ability to bridge divides and bring people together, while making all feel welcomed, valued and appreciated,” a statement from the team read.
Nassib also announced he would be giving $100,000 to The Trevor Project, an organization that prevents suicide in young people who identify as LGBTQ.
The Trevor Project responded to the donation in a statement.
“The Trevor Project is grateful to Carl Nassib for living his truth and supporting LGBTQ youth. This generous donation will help us scale our life-saving crisis services to reach the more than 1.8 million LGBTQ youth who seriously consider suicide each year in the U.S.,” it read.
Nassib said he’ll be using his platform to represent and hopefully encourage others to follow in his footsteps.
“I just think that representation and visibility are so important. I actually hope that one day, videos like this, the whole coming out process, are just not necessary but until then, you know, I’m going to do my best to 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,” Nassib said.
The Trevor Project said Nassib’s announcement should turn into a call for more LGBTQ inclusion in school sports, especially as the organization notes that state lawmakers are “actively trying to restrict transgender and nonbinary youth participation.”