Las Vegas Raiders defensive lineman Carl Nassib announced Monday that he’s gay, making him the first active NFL player in history to do so.
“What’s up people,” Nassib said in an Instagram video he recorded at his home in West Chester, Pennsylvania. “I just wanted 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.”
Nassib was the 66th during the 2016 NFL Draft and played with the Cleveland Browns and Tampa Bay Buccaneers.
“I really have the best life, I’ve got the best family, friends and job a guy could ask for,” Nassib, 28, said. “I’m a pretty private person so I hope you guys know that I’m not doing this for attention. I just think that representation and visibility are so important.”
Nassib said he hopes that in the future similar videos of players coming out as gay are “just not necessary.”
“Until then I’m going to do my best and do my part to cultivate a culture that’s accepting, that’s compassionate,” Nassib said.
He added that the support of his friends, family and members of the Raiders organization made his announcement that much easier.
On Monday, the Raiders congratulated Nassib on Twitter and published a statement from the Pennsylvania native:
Nassib said he will be donating $100,000 to The Trevor Project, a national organization that provides crisis intervention and suicide prevention services to LGBTQ people under 25.
Nassib is the first active NFL player to come out as gay, but former University of Missouri star Michael Sam was the first openly gay player drafted in any major U.S. sport, according to the Associated Press. Sam was drafted by the Rams in 2014 but failed to make the regular-season active roster. He left the NFL in 2015, citing mental health reasons.
Several players have also come out as gay after their careers were over.
Nassib, who joined the Raiders last year, is signed to a 3-year, $25 million contract. The defensive end appeared in 14 games and tallied 2.5 sacks last season.